8.23.2014

Alive

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~Thornton Wilder

506- Beautiful food.

507- You just never know where Ducky will show up.

508- Harvesting together.

509- Sleep

510- First day of school


511-  First Day of School breakfast.

512- Our first ripe tomato.

513- 10 years

514- Remembering the "old" days

515- snapping beans

516- Family Night

8.20.2014

Home Education



This is our third year of homeschooling.  Our motto is a child at a time, a year at a time.  I don't think there is one best way to educate all kids, but this year we feel like it's best to keep doing what we're doing.



It's been a learning process over the years. I started out super zealous like many moms of young ones ready to homeschool, and I'm finally landing (at least for now) at a place of taking things slow, allowing the kids to learn how they learn best, realizing we don't need to do it all and that while there are difficult days, I'm very thankful this has worked for our family.

With that being said, we are getting ready to start our 2014-15 school year.  I'm very excited about some curriculum we are continuing and some we are trying new this year.

(A side note: I don't subscribe to any specific styles of teaching, although I tend to mostly find us following a Classical and Charlotte Mason mix of styles.  I don't think there is one right way or right curriculum for everyone, and that includes us from year to year.)

History:  Story of the World -- Let me tell you friends, I did not like history growing up (interestingly enough, since my Dad is a history buff).  The last two years, we've used Story of the World. I've learned SO much and look forward to learning even more.  I love how the curriculum is presented (like a story) and that we can add in other literature resources and activities to suit our needs.

Science:  This has been our most difficult subject to find a curriculum we love. This year we are trying NOEO Biology 1. I'm excited about the Charlotte Mason approach to science with quality literature incorporated into our learning and experiences.

Reading: We are continuing All About Reading this year and have loved this curriculum for our Big 3.

Spelling: All About Spelling

Math: Singapore Math has been our go-to math for this year and last year.  It's bridged the gap between our kids' differing learning styles so we can use the same curriculum for them.  (We have two 1st graders this year, and they both have vastly different learning styles and excitement, especially when it comes to math).

Writing:  I'm not doing much for writing for the 1st graders this year, at least not first semester. However, we will likely pull out First Language Lessons some.  For Mr. G, though, we are trying Fix It! Grammar and All Things Fun and Fascinating.

We have a few other things (geography, presentation skills, Spanish, music, art etc.) that we will be working on throughout the year as well. but that's a run-down of the basics.

If you homeschool. what curriculum have you found that you love? Anyone have favorite first day of school traditions?  We take pics of the kids, take a walk. and usually have a fun breakfast together (and I usually get a latte to start the day).

8.18.2014

Balance


I thought I was good at balancing life.

Until a couple weeks ago.

I decided something needed to go.  It wasn't a rational thought. I was just feeling like I couldn't keep up, so I decided I'd just quit...again.

Fortunately, I realized something instead.

For far too long, I've put myself last. Yet I'm finally getting my footing doing something I enjoy, something that helps me feel alive.



I love, love being a mom.  I love staying at home. I am thankful we can homeschool and that our situation makes it possible for me to be home with the kids.

But, that doesn't mean it's my entire life.  At one time, I didn't realize that, and I'm just now realizing it's okay to say that.

Truthfully, I felt like mothering was something people said I was good at and showed I had worth in.  There are exceptions to this of course, but people would/do dote on my kids, and that makes me proud, makes me feel like I'm doing something worthwhile with my life.

Having not gone to college and with no grand career aspirations, I found myself several years ago throwing myself into mothering.  But I lost myself.  I've written before about how I quit, how I believed the "I can't" lies.



I want to invest in my kids, want them to know they are truly and dearly loved. BUT, I also want them to see that their worth doesn't lay in what they do, what career they have, in their spouses or their children or how good they are at something.  I want them to know that I love being their mama, seriously love it, but I am not only a mama, and life doesn't revolve around them.  I want them to realize they are not god but that God has made them and that they learn to define their worth in Him, not in what they do or whether they are being applauded for what they do.

So I'm learning and stumbling, balancing life.  Following through with what I feel I should be doing, not losing myself, but remembering who I am.  In turn, that makes me more alive in my mothering and in life in general.

I'm learning to not feel guilty when I say, "I need you to go play for a bit and let me work on this," and also remembering to set aside the project once in a while so I can play hair salon with a sweet 6 year-old girl.

Balance is proving to be more difficult than what I thought.  However, my "balanced" life before wasn't quite so balanced as I once thought, because what I thought was balance was really neglecting myself, which doesn't benefit anyone in the long run.

Do you find balance difficult?  If you're a mom, do you feel guilty doing things that just you enjoy?


8.15.2014

Friday!!

Wow, it's Friday.  It's our last week before school starts as we start schooling on Monday.  The kids are so excited, which makes me excited.  Are you or your kids starting back to school soon?

Some favorites for you today.  Enjoy friends and have a great weekend!


We completed our DIY chalkboard and I love, love, love it.  Per my usual, I didn't completely follow one tutorial but this one has great instructions. 

These look yum! Flourless Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I'm in full on homeschool planning mode, I've been browsing lists of books for the kids this year and for us to read aloud.  Pinterest is full of list after list but these have been my favorites: Twaddle Free Literature, Must Read Chapter Books, Wordless Picture Books
What are your favorite read aloud or chapter books??

We've been watching thrift stores and garage sales for solid wood chairs to use at our outdoor dining table.  I found these helpful tips on painting outdoor furniture.


How cute are these DIY bookshelves made from drawers?!


8.14.2014

Ferguson

I had a post prepared for this morning, but I'm finding it hard to go to the regularly scheduled programming with all that's on my mind.

Honestly, my mind is spinning.  I'm balancing compassion, mercy, justice and grace. Yes, grace.

On my heart today: Ferguson and Mike Brown.

If you are unaware of what's going on in Ferguson, I'd encourage you to find an unbiased source and try to be up to date.  It's not pretty friends--it's heartbreaking, and many media outlets are largely ignoring what's happening.

I'm not here to point fingers.  Honestly, my heart has cringed at words lashed from both sides.  These are just my thoughts from a heavy heart, and while I feel like I have little worthwhile to add to the conversation besides prayers and support, this is what I do know:

*There's deep heartbreak.  A son, brother, friend has died, and there is still no firm explanation.  

*Racism does exist.  Our family has experienced it first-hand.  It's playing out today.  Colorblindness isn't the answer.  If I told you I had never had thoughts of white privilege, I'd be lying to you. It's something I was never aware of until before we thought of adopting a child of a different race.  I was ignorantly unaware of the flaw in my thinking, I'm not proud of it, but am thankful for having awareness and change.

*After the Trayvon Martin story came to light months back, Dave and I had a talk about what it will be like raising a multi-cultural family especially as they all become teenagers (we've had this conversation many times, but there are always new things to discuss).  We try to have open conversations filled with grace and truth with our kids about race and racism.  After this week, I realize we need more discussion, more teaching and especially conversations with S, talks I feel extremely ill-equipped as a Mama to have with him.

*I know many people who are very passionate about our rights as Americans being taken away.  I'm immensely thankful to live in a free country.  However, I feel to be passionate about rights as Americans and not aware of what's happening in Ferguson is a miss.  Don't miss it, friends.  It's not pretty, but it's necessary to be aware of.

That's all for today, friends, thoughts from my heart trying to balance it all and stand on Truth.  

8.13.2014

Counting...

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson


497- Long evening walks


498- Hiking

499- Visit from family


500- An early anniversary lunch.

501- Breakfast out.

502- Sunsets

503-  Watching them when they don't realize it.


504- Colorful iced tea.

505- News of a friend expecting baby number 4!

8.12.2014

It's just too much...

Hi friends,

How are you...really?

As I went to bed last night, everything felt like it was just too much...

Riots, starvation on a mountain, children dying, one who brought so many laughs hurting so deep and dark, illness ravaging and taking lives.  And there is more, isn't there?  Whether halfway around the world, or in our home, or next door. 

Sometimes it seems easier to just look away, but I can't just pretend it's not happening.  I've tried that before, pretending like something isn't happening because it may be uncomfortable or hurt.  I can't just avoid the news, cover my ears to the stories or look away when the neighbors pass by.  Yes, it may feel like it's just too much, may feel like everywhere I turn there seems to be heartbreak, loss, and suffering, but I can't ignore it and pretend like it's not happening.  That would solve nothing. 

Anyone else feeling a bit helpless these last couple days?  Like it's just too much?  

My friend Kelly asked this question on Facebook last night: "All over the world there are heartbreaking things going on. Yet in my personal little bubble all is "well". How do I continue on with my everyday, just like normal, when so many cannot?"

Can anyone else relate?
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