New schedule

We are on Christmas break. A very much needed break. When I started our first year of homeschool back in August it didn’t really occur to me that I needed to have a yearly schedule. As the weeks went by however I can see how an actual yearly, or term by term schedule is needed. So, I talked to a bunch of people. I consulted the ever popular internet and homeschool blogs and then I prayed. Then I  prayed and prayed and prayed some more. I have decided that we need to have some kind of a plan so I am going to start it as soon as we get back to school on the 2nd of Jan. We are going to try the ever common and popular 6 weeks on, 1 week off term schedule. As I write it out on a calendar, it looks really good. I like the weeks that will be our week off. They could turn into some great travel opportunities since I am really hoping to get up to Northern Idaho this spring sometime. I don’t know yet how it will work in the long term or how I am actually going to feel about only taking 6 weeks off this summer but for now, I have decided this is a great place to start. I know I still need to be flexible but think this is a great place to start.

So, I am curious. What kind of schedule do you use? Year -round? Following the local school calendar? Or something entirely different that is personally designed and a perfect fit? I would love to hear what works best for your family!

Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you had a very wonderful Christmas!

Hugs,
Jen

Advertisements

How is Homeschooling going?

I cannot believe that we have been a homeschooling family for over 4 months already! The time is flying by. We will be taking this Thanksgiving week off and I thought this would be a great time to take inventory and give an overview of what we are doing, and the places that we are finding our inspirations.

The first couple of months were hard. We were so used to going to school and felt like we needed to make school at home look and feel like school at…well, public school. Some days were OK, and some were not. Some days we worked our way through workbooks and printables. We took trips to the library but it was more so that we could get out of the house. We tried doing something new every few days and while we were learning we were not having a good time. I had so much information at my fingertips and I wasn’t sorting it out or using it at all. There were tears over handwritting, over math, over tears.

Then in October I decided we had to make some changes. I had been hearing about Charlotte Mason and I decided to check into it more. I spent many hours learning about Miss Mason and her beliefs and views on education. I spent more hours in prayer asking for guidance and clarity about which direction we needed to go. I knew what we had been doing was not working and felt like this style was going to be a good fit for our family.

We are now 5 weeks in and there are no more tears. We have a routine that we follow and very clear understanding on what is required as far as attitude, methods and quality of work. While we are not doing as many subjects as I would like each week the things that we are doing are being done “Right away, all the way and with a happy heart”. School is fun again and I think that we are all learning! I know it will take at least a full year before we are going to be able to see any real fruits of our labor.

I am sure I will be writing more about the methods that are working and I’ll be sharing where I am finding the best free curriculum that money can buy *wink wink*

Thanks for checking in!
Blessings!

Jen

We saw God at the library this week…..

We had started our day like all of the others. We did the calendar for the day, learning the days of the week, months of the year and singing a few songs to help reinforce the concepts for D Man. We discussed the weather and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. The last thing we did before we started was we pray and give thanks to God, as we are trying to make Him the center of all things in our life.

Our morning went along great, working on math and reading. We listened to praise music as we studied and worked on our bible verse for the week.  By this time I could tell we were all a bit restless.I knew that we had movies that needed to be returned and we wanted to find a few new books so the kids and I headed to the library.

D man headed off to one area, Miss A to another. I had a few moments to browse around and grab the books I had put on hold the previous week. Most of them were school related. Chemistry, math, science….good old fashioned learning. While I was waiting for the kids to check out their books and movies, the librarian and I started chatting. Of course it came up that we were a homeschooling family…since we were at the library during the middle of the day, while most children are in school. The sweet gal I was chatting with shared with me that she and her brother had been homeschooled while they were growing up and she was a huge proponent of it. She was in 3rd grade and her brother in 1st grade when they started and it was a journey that continued all the way through high school. The love and enthusiasm that poured from Gabby was amazing. As we talked I realized that this encounter was not some accidental occurrence but rather a response from God to the prayers of that morning. In our daily prayer I had invited the Holy Spirit to join us that day, to be a part of our learning and and to be an active part of our day. He was there to reinforce to use that we were doing the right thing. We were following HIS will for our life and our obedience was good. He was using this person to speak to us HIS excitement for our journey and our learning and giving me the pat on the back that so far I was doing a good job.

It was another tangible way to show my children how God is alive and actively participating in our lives. We had asked Him to be a part of our day and He was there and showed Himself in a way that I could point out to my kids and they could understand. No parables or outdated language. Just a very sweet young lady at the library who showed enthusiasm and love of the learning that we are doing. A few weeks ago Miss A (age 9) had asked me how I knew when God was talking to me. That was hard to explain and I found myself grasping for tangible evidence in our lives that she would be able to understand. This however was an answer to that. And I know the library encounter it wasn’t all for me. Part of it was for her….a way that I can show her how God is always present, no matter where we go even though we cannot see Him. To me, it was a double confirmation….like a 2-1 special at the store!!!

I’m slowing learning to see God in all things. Not just the season’s of dry desert, or the times of hurt and emptiness. But also the times of regular life, like between seasons or during the season of peace that I never thought we might reach, and even the season when things are finally going good and I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. God is here and an active part of my life. I am so blessed to be able to now share and show my children this amazing gift as well. I hope that you can take some time after you read this and try to find Him in the little things. If you are needing Him….call out to Him! Reach out to Him!!! Lay it all out there and be open and ready for Him to respond. I promise you that if you ask He will come!

Blessings to you my friends. I am so happy to have you!
In Him,
Jen

Homeschooling Is…….A Lesson in car washing

What tools are we going to need to get this job done?
How much soap is too much?
Learning to share and take turns using the scrubber, sponge and hose, without arguing.
Seeing the spots that still have dirt and learning that those need to be washed again.
Rinsing ALL of the soap off is paramount to a clean vehicle, and a getting each area wet before we start washing isn’t a bad idea either.
We are not all the way done until everything is rinsed out and put away.
It is harder to roll up a hose when you have small arms.

This is what I {{LOVE}} about homeschooling!

Faith building obedience

Obedience is usually a word that makes me think of children. Mine, yours, her’s….it doesn’t really matter. Being obedient is something that we usually expect from children. When our children are not obedient then we have consequences for them. In our home when the kids were younger that would mean some time in the corner, or alone in their room along with an apology to the person that was disobeyed and an lesson on how to be obedient the next time. As the kids have gotten older the consequence may change but the expectation of obedience has not.

Do we ever expect our fellow grown ups to be obedient? I didn’t use to think so. It wasn’t until I began to take my relationship with Jesus much more seriously did I realize that I was going to be called to be obedient to Him and that thought rocked my world. I learned that if I prayed I had better expect Him to answer. Once the answer was given I needed to obey it, even if it wasn’t the answer I was hoping for or expecting. Recently this lesson has played out loud and clear in my life.

Many months ago it was laid on my heart by the Lord that I needed to start learning about homeschooling. He put people in my path along the way that were already involved with this form of education. I sought out people in my community, in my church and eventually on the Internet. I realized that this was no longer an abstract way to raise your children but in my state, it was actually a very common practice.

What on earth was I considering!!!???  I was finally a full time, stay at home mom. This was going to be the first year that both of my children were going to be in school all day long. I was about to have most of the days to myself, to do as I wanted. Whether that was work on blog posts, stamp a new card, take a class at the YMCA or have coffee with a girlfriend, my days were going to me about me and what I wanted. Ha Ha Ha!! Who was I kidding…..I should have known that idea was way toooooo good to be true!

Fast forward to this summer when the decision was finally made that this was the path that God was wanting for our family. As much as I had dreamed of having time each day for God and myself I knew in my heart and from all of the signs and ways God shows Himself that this was what I was supposed to do. And when I realized that, acceptance was easy. This wasn’t some half thought out plan. This was God’s Will for my life and I knew I had to obey.

The big day had finally arrived. We were about to begin this new journey! The kids and I finished our morning routine of breakfast, getting dressed and morning chores. We headed upstairs to the school room and were just sitting down to pray and start our day when the phone rang. I had set a rule that no phone, internet or email during school time but before I could utter a word the kids were running for the phone. On the other end was my dear husband. He was calling to give me the news that it was his first year anniversary at his job and he was going to be getting a raise. The amount of the raise he was given was the same amount that I was loosing by leaving my part time job at the school to be home with my kids. While I’d like to say I was shocked the only words I could utter at that moment was ” I knew it!!! I just knew it!!!” “God had this whole entire thing planned out and he just wanted to see if we would trust Him enough to actually obey His will for our life!”  I instantly felt like we had been rewarded for being obedient.

Now I have to admit that this is the first time I can say that we were ever rewarded monetarily for being obedient to God. Actually this will probably be the first, last and only time this will ever happen to us. And that is just fine! To be given such a tangible reward, for it to be something that we can actually see and use to show how trusting God is worth it being a once in a lifetime event.

Do you feel that God has put something on your heart or is calling you to do? Are you listening to Him and are you willing to be obedient? If you don’t, you may miss out on a great reward, a once in a lifetime reward. It may be something that you can share with an unbeliever and use to show that God is alive and well and working in our lives right now. I wouldn’t want to miss that opportunity. I hope that by sharing this story with you, you won’t miss yours.

Blessings,
Jen

From Bonus Room to School Room

When we moved to Idaho, we were blessed with a larger home. It technically has 5 bedrooms. 3 are used as bedrooms, 1 is my stamping room and the last is a large bonus room over the garage. For the last year it has been used by the kids as the bonus room. A place where the extra stuff can go. We got them a small TV and put the Wii up there so we didn’t all have to fight for TV time. I found a free couch from Craigslist and it gives us a place to sit. But for the most part, the room is hardly used and collects an amazing amount of dust cat hair!

Since we are now beginning our journey into Homeschooling I have decided to turn part of that space into our school area. We really need a defined area to do our work, keep our supplies and try not to let the school space spread out into the entire house. It will also help keep us focused on what our tasks are, and hopefully help us focus on getting school done.

So, here are photos, taken yesterday as I begun to turn this space from Bonus Room to School Room.

I worked for hours tearing the unused bed frame down, moving furniture, washing curtains, sweeping, dusting etc etc. The kids helped with taking their toys and other “stuff” to their rooms, to the giveaway pile or into the garbage. They also helped by playing with friends, riding bikes and not asking me for something ever 12 seconds.

By late in the afternoon, we had a room that looked like this.

Serious progress had been made!

Check back tomorrow to see how the transformation is coming along. I continued to work into the night, and the kids helped me decide where to put the bookcases, hang posters and pick a dedicated calendar area. They both loved that they found this morning when they woke up and I can’t wait to share the finished project with you.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great day!

A new journey is about to begin

Summer has been a blast this year! We have not taken any fancy trips, visited family far away or have tons of extravagant highlights to share. It has instead been filled with small blessing and large accomplishments.

D Man learned how to ride a 2 wheel bike AND how to swim under water. Miss A went to her first sleep over camp out of state and is no longer afraid of the diving board. Chris has been blessed to have been working for the same company for a year now and I have a renewed love of Stampin’. We have so many things to be grateful for.

Many other families are gearing up to go off to school for another year, we are gearing up to stay home. We have been feeling the calling for many months now and have made the decision to homeschool the kids. I would like to add that it isn’t because of the school we attended or the staff at the school. We love our neighborhood school. The staff have become like family to me. But like so many other places around the country our district has been hit with big cuts and growing needs. I know the kids would be fine, but “fine’ isn’t enough. So, we are going to jump in another leap of faith and go for it.

I am looking forward to writing about our journey here. I don’t know that anyone will ever read it but a year from now, I will enjoy looking back and seeing how the road has been. A few people have told me that the first year is the hardest, and I can see that. But I am so excited to start this next stage in our lives and am ready to work through those battles.

I hope that you will stick around for the ride and cheer us on!