Friday, September 1, 2017

A Bouquet of Newly Sharpened Pencils

I love that movie line in "You've Got Mail" where Meg Ryan talks about the smell of a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils.  I think we all secretly love that smell. My kiddos keep asking me when we are starting school. They are actually counting down the days. Oh, if only that excitement could hang around all year long.  Each year I desire to keep it fun for them. I love to learn and I think they do too, just maybe not in the usual structured way.

Have I mentioned in previous posts that I am a curriculum junkie?  Well I am. I can look at "most" any curriculum and think that it would be so fun. I love to try them out but I always tell myself that if it isn't working I don't have to stick with it. One of my favorite curriculums has been "Learning Adventures" by Dorian Holt. But I feel with my varying ages it just isn't a good fit for us right now. Last year I tried "My Father's World" after blogs made it look so very inviting but I found it to be a bit dry.  I love, love, love Unit Studies but again making it work with a toddler, preschooler, kindergartener, 1st grader, 3rd grader, 4th grader and a couple of high schoolers just isn't easy.

This year I am going to give "The Good and the Beautiful" a try. The Language Arts part of it seems a bit too dry and bookish to me but I have also been pretty lax about that subject for a while so I think it is time to hit the books on it. The History looks like it will be good but I am planning to add in some Unit Study type activities as we go along. I like the looks of their Nature Study and I like that they are heavy on reading good books....not garbage.  It is written by a Mormon lady and we are NOT Mormons but there is nothing in there with that bent to it. 

I am also excited to try out Beautiful Feet's Geography. We will be reading some fun books and hopefully, going on some field trips prompted from our reading.

I love homeschooling my kids!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

I Love My State...however

Our family has loved living here in Oregon for the last 20 years. Here where we are it is always green and the summers are not unbearably hot. We live most of the summer without air conditioning, the evenings are so cool and the rain isn't as bad as people imagine it to be. God made a beautiful place when He created Oregon...However, the politics in our state are atrocious. It has always been a liberal state but lately things have been stepped up a bit. I am not on Facebook to share this but I felt that some how it needs to get out so I will do my very small part and share it here.

This is an article I received in my email this morning:

Please read it. Not only does it share what Governor Kate Brown is doing in our state but there are also lessons here for us as Christians. Feel free to share the article. Also in the last few days Gov. Brown has passed into law that guns may be confiscated if the owner is thought to be a threat to themselves or others . Our liberties are being taken away bit by bit while we aren't watching. What can we do? Pray, pray, pray! Teach our children to pray. When it feels like government is stepping on our every freedom we need to show our children by example to turn to the Lord!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Time on My Hands

Since stepping away from Facebook, two things have happened....I have more time on my hands now but I have lost a way to share my life with you all. I have picked knitting back up, which isn't such a big deal since all I can knit is dishcloths and baby blankets that are basically giant dishcloths.  And I have renewed an interest that I have had for a while in herbs. I think it is so amazing that God gave us plants that we can eat and use for medicine. I have been looking into herbal schools but the majority of them are extremely expensive. In my searching though, I found Heart of Herbs. They have affordable prices that actually allow people the opportunity to attend. It is all distance learning so that makes it even better.

On that vein, I decided to start harvesting and drying what herbs I have around my home, while waiting to take their courses and to encourage me to go ahead and start learning herbs and their uses.

Red Raspberry leaves, which are considered one of the oldest and wisest herbs for women's health and some yummy chocolate mint leaves drying on my front porch. The Raspberry leaves will be dried and stored for use as a tea for us Ladies of the house when that time of the month comes when life gets difficult.  One of my next projects for Hubby is to make me some herb drying racks.

If you are interested in herbs, one of the best books I have found so far is The Herbal Apothecary.  Be sure to get the book, not the Kindle version...books are so much better to hold and feel.

Anyone want to comment and share their experiences with herbs and some resources that have helped you along in your learning quest?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Freedom to Change

Well we are only about 6 weeks into the school year and already I am feeling like things just aren't clicking...I love the idea behind the Morning Time basket and we have enjoyed reading together but I also love hands on stuff. I usually always find myself gravitating towards unit Studies. In fact one of my favorite unit studies is Learning Adventures by Dorian Holt. I used this many, many years ago when our oldest set of kiddos were young. The ages for the main curriculum are 4th-8th grade but I did have a couple of younger ones tag along way back when. Now you can buy a supplement to it for younger kids to do along with the older ones. I did purchase that used this year but as I looked at it I decided to save it for when the kids are a little older. B#6 is plugging away using the main Learning Adventures curriculum and is enjoying her time in Ancient Egypt.

Sooo back to my original discontent with school thus far...I decided to look into My Father's World Adventures in U.S. History. I knew I was really ready to move beyond Ancient cultures and into some U.S. history. We have been talking a lot about U.S. history around here lately with some of my children attending a Project Appleseed event. Anyway, as I looked into My Father's World and read THIS blog I realized that in using MFW I could have a Charlotte Mason style curriculum, keep doing our Morning Time together and have some fun, hands on projects for the kids to do. I am looking forward to getting started and you know, having the freedom to change what we are doing to find something that excites us all is one of the great things about homeschooling.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

My Pick for a Laminator

I spent this morning working on some things to keep my Preschooler busy during school time with the older ones. Pinterest, of course, being one of the tools I used today but once I had some things printed out I got our one of my favorite laminator. I don't know why I love to laminate things but I could just go around the house laminating things if I thought I could get away with it. It seems that every time I read someone's blog about their recommendations for a laminator they always mention the Scotch brand laminator which uses certain size pouches depending on your project. I personally don't want to buy different pouches as I never know what size I might be laminating. A friend introduced me to the Zyron laminator many years ago. This laminator is such a basic machine and so very easy to use that my children all love to help me laminate things. There is no heat involved with it so I don't have to worry about anyone getting burned. The one pictured below is a newer version than what I have but it works the same. You can buy these new or used on Amazon for as low as $8.49. Even if you don't homeschool, having a laminator on hand can be so useful.

In case you have some young ones at home and would like some busy time activities below are some links to some ideas for you. If you have a laminator, have a fun time laminating them to make them last.
Of course there are tons of other freebies on Pinterest that you can print out and laminate for you kiddos. If you have older children in school maybe you want to laminate chore charts, school schedules, or enrichment activities for after school to help keep them off of screen time.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Few of Our Favorite Scripture Memory Tools

Like most moms I really want my children to be hiding God's Word in their heart and mind. I definitely struggle with memorizing verses so I don't want it to be such a struggle for my children. So I thought I would share a few of our favorite Scripture memory tools

By far my favorite is THIS MOVIE by the Moore family. This is our "go-to" movie when B#12 gets up too early in the morning and needs some snuggle time or when mom needs to get a shower while the big kids do their chores. It is such a simple and sweet movie with no other talking than the Scripture verse of the alphabet featured in each small vignette. It has even helped my 14 and 15 year old with memorizing as they hear it in the background when the littles are watching it.

Another one of my favorites is an oldie in our house. We used to listen to it when my oldest children were young. It is a CD called "Sing the Word A-Z" by the Harrow family. You can find it  HERE.

And then finally we have enjoyed working our way through "My ABC Bible Verses" by Susan Hunt.  I guess you can tell we enjoy tools that take us through the alphabet. It seems to help us with recall better and I have lots of littles so it seems like we are always working on our ABCs. Amazon carries it HERE.

There you have it, a very short post on a few tools to help with hiding God's word in our hearts.

"Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee".  Psalm 119:11

Sunday, August 28, 2016

School Is Just Around the Corner

Up here in the Northwest we don't start school till September and we typically school until June. That was difficult for me after growing up in the South. Every year I would complain to my friends in May that I was ready to be finished schooling for the summer since that was what I had grown up experiencing. I have adapted now and I love starting school in September! So we are in our last days of Summer and I am mentally consumed with preparing for a new school year. I have done a few things to physically prepare but most my time so far has been spent reading and thinking about what I want this school year to look like.

You see my heart desires to have a Restful, Lovely, Relaxing school year. I have visions of just being with my kiddos piled up on the floor reading, reading, reading. That is actually what I wanted last year but with the addition of Baby #12 I found myself just sliding back in to my usual ways of listing out on the white board what the kids needed to accomplish each day and fuss at them from the kitchen to stick to their work. It was the exact opposite of what I wanted for our year.

But God in His graciousness allows us to start again fresh, letting go of regrets and refocusing on a new year! One of the things that God has brought to my attention this year is the concept of "Morning Time". Type it in on Pinterest and you will find lots of information about it but basically it is a time to gather everyone together(morning or not) and learn together. Most things that you will read about Morning Time talk about using that together time to focus on Truth, Beauty and Goodness. I just LOVE that. Sometimes I feel like I am just throwing information at my kids without really providing any time for discussion or relating it to anything. There are things I have wanted to do with them that just don't seem to fit in the busyness of the day, like Nature Study, Scripture Memory, Poetry, Character Study, Hymn Study and Art.  History always ended up being hit or miss with my littles so having a time for that and Read Alouds was important to me as well.

I purchased the book "Your Morning Time" by Pam Barnhill. I am working on reading it through for the second time. In the book she walks you through the "Why" of Morning Time, shows you how you can plan your Morning Time and gives some suggestions for resources you can use, although you are free to include whatever you choose.

I am one who likes to use my own things so I scoured my bookshelves to find things I have wanted to read with my children and added them to a shelf to remind me that I want to incorporate them at some point. They were things like Nature Readers that I have collected through the years, some animal books from Usborne and a History audio that I downloaded from Character Concepts. I also purchased a set of Art cards from Usborne books to use as a very light Art study. There are lots of things you can do for Hymn study and Character Study so it is just a matter of choosing what you like.

One idea that is mentioned in the book that could be used for anyone, whether you do "Morning Time" or not is the idea of a Loop Schedule. Basically choosing the things that need to be done everyday which for us is Bible, Math, Copywork, and a Read aloud. Then for our Loop Schedule we will do Hymn study and History one day, Nature Study and Poetry the next day. Followed by Character Study and Oral Grammar, then Picture Study and Oral Math the final two days. We will only school 4 days a week and have a fun Co-op day with other families on the 5th day. What I love about this Loop schedule is that instead of assigning days to certain subjects then having our schedule railroaded by doctor appointments or getting the opportunity to go somewhere fun with Daddy, we can just pick up where we left off in the schedule despite what day of the week it is. I am also planning to keep a map in my Morning Time basket to pull out when we get the opportunity to locate somewhere from our reading.

My hope is that by doing a couple of special things each day we can just rest and enjoy our time together in the morning before heading to the table to do our everyday subjects.

I hope that you too may be encouraged to look into using a Morning Time with your children and enjoying searching out things to enjoy together that will inspire Truth, Goodness and Beauty.

I want to give credit to Joy at Artful Homemaking for originally introducing this topic to me. Her post is written so much better than I can explain so be sure to hop on over there and give it a read.