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To blog or not to blog?

1 Oct

I’m in the midst of making a major shift in our classroom.  I don’t know if or how the fresh approach will affect my blog.  The curriculum that I’m currently scrutinizing and reviewing is the opposite of how I learned; therefore I am in foreign territory.  It’s very scary.  It’s exciting too because I can see light at the end of the tunnel.  That light is me, my life.  I am considering the curriculum for both my children and for me.  If I am consistently haggard and exhausted, I’ll be no good to anyone in the family.  Thus the new direction.

Please pray for me and my husband as we weigh our options.  I know God is close by.  He shoulders my burdens and listens to my cries and doubts.  I want to please Him.  As long as I keep Him as my center, I know I’ll be okay.

Blessings for a wonderful weekend!

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Fresh Perspective

30 Sep

God works in wonderful ways.  He always puts the right people in my path when I need it the most.

I’m almost four weeks into our new school year, and honestly I’m exhausted.  I spend on average two hours per night planning, checking and preparing our workboxes.  Many evenings, I don’t walk upstairs from the basement classroom until after 10 p.m. – just in time to go to bed.  I miss my life and my husband!

Something has to change.  I cannot believe that God intended our homeschool to literally consume me.

In my frustration, I made a remark on Face Book and one of my wise friends immediately messaged me.  We’ve been chatting back and forth all day!  She reminded me of the old acronym: K.I.S.S. or Keep It Simple, Sweetie!  How so?  She recommended a website to me, www.robinsoncurriculum.com and advised me to learn about Dr. Art Robinson’s methodology.  On the website, I clicked on a video of Dr. Robinson talking about his experience in homeschooling.  Enlightening.

Praise God for giving me the gift of another selfless, lovely homeschooling mother of seven.  Her breadth of knowledge has lifted me out of my darkened hole and awakened my spirit to new possibilities.  For that, I’m grateful to her and to our patient Lord.

I am reminded of His great presence in my life by Dr. Charles Stanley’s Sept 29th Daily Devotional: 

God’s Provision 
Matthew 14:22-34

No one gets through life without trials.  Realistically, you are either in a storm, just getting out of a one, or about to enter a turbulent time.  That is the bad news. Thankfully, we serve a good God who provides beautifully—especially during the dark periods of life.

Today’s passage tells of a stormy night on the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus provides for us today just as He did for His disciples in that unsettling situation.  Today, we will focus on ways that He does this.

First, the Father gives Christians His presence and the promise that He will never leave (Heb. 13:5-6).  This is, perhaps, the greatest gift because from this awareness, He offers a sense of comfort, courage, and confidence.

Second, the Lord blesses His children with a pathway through trouble.  He is in total control of our storm and will use the trial for His purpose.  We may not understand, but we can trust His hand to guide us and accomplish good.  Sometimes the reason and benefit of a difficulty will becomes obvious, while in other cases, it may never be clear.

Third, the Father offers believers the potential to grow.  Hardships are exercises in trust and times to learn more fully who God is and how great His power and love are.

No one enjoys trials.  But remember to express gratitude for God’s hand in your life and the way He will use the adversity.  Hardships are chances to trust your Creator and to know Him better.  Of course, they are painful, but don’t waste the opportunity to become all the Lord has planned for you. 

Memory Lane – Third Grade

29 Sep

When I reminisce about my elementary school days, I remember my third grade teacher, Mrs. Sparks.  I enjoy the astonished looks on my girls’ faces whenever I share moments from my youth.  “You were a girl once?!” they ask.  Indeed I was, and I’m not too old to remember some details!  I recall the yellow sheet of paper that Mrs. Sparks handed to each student and proclaimed, “Memorize these facts.”  No fancy rhymes, memory games or promises of treats.  What was on the paper?  Multiplication tables.

Before I withdrew my oldest daughter from public school, her class was beginning to learn the multiplication tables and I heard myself utter, “Just memorize them.”  If I did it that way, why couldn’t she?  When the teacher introduced a motivational game to help the class learn the tables, I rolled my eyes.  I kept hearing Mrs. Sparks’ words ringing in my ears, “Memorize these facts.”  Wasn’t the way I learned the fastest and best way?

No.

Thanks to Steve Demme, creator of Math U See, both my daughter and I are learning (or in my case re-learning) the multiplication tables.  Mr. Demme has a unique approach; he teaches the why and how not just the what.  Sure, many kids can memorize the multiplication facts but most don’t understand the why.  Why does 5 x 10 = 50?  Math U See requires the student to build the equations so she can see for herself why and how it equals 50.

Today’s lesson was an eye-opener for ME.  Mr. Demme reviewed multiplying by 5s and revealed the fabulous number patterns.  Yes, there’s more than one way to solve a multiplication problem and Mr. Demme makes it fun!  Sorry, Mrs. Sparks.  We’ve found a better way to understand multiplication tables than merely by memorization.

Autumn Leaves

26 Sep

I stumbled across this activity online: Collecting Autumn Leaves.  It’s been hard to focus on the changing fall season in the south due to the hot, humid days!  I look forward to cooler days and crisp nights.  We recently took a nature hike, but I’m excited to take another and collect and record the different types of leaves.

The website, kidzone, contains templates for Ash, Birch, Elder, Maple, Oak and Poplar trees as well as a blank template for mystery leaves.  (One of these days, I’ll purchase a binding machine; this activity is perfect for making booklets!) 

Each template has a blank space for either drawing the leaf or applying a leaf rub or pressing.

Rather than printing all of the templates for the three girls, I simply right-clicked on the image and saved to my hard-drive.  Once we’re blessed with another beautiful morning and we get the itch to take school outside, the “Collecting Autumn Leaves” activity will be ready!

Volcano Experiment!

25 Sep

Today, we completed the volcano experiment from the Expedition Earth curriculum by Erica (a.k.a. Confessions of a Homeschooler).  If you’re interested in the supplies list and details for the experiment, I suggest contacting Erica; or better yet purchase her geography curriculum, Expedition Earth!  It costs $15 (all downloadable files) and is chock full of activities for countries around the globe.  Erica also offers an animal supplement, Expedition Earth Animals.

Daddy helped our oldest daughter mix the ingredients for the cone of the volcano.  I loved that the recipe required everyday “pantry” ingredients such as flour, salt, oil and water.  No extra trips to the grocery store!

Admittedly, I bought the wrong-sized plastic soda bottle.  We don’t generally drink soda and I realized too late that a two-liter bottle may be overkill.  Nonetheless, we proceeded with the experiment and colored the water red  for the lava effect!

Here the girls are building the base or cone of the volcano.  We ran out of mixture but it didn’t lessen the excitement.

Adding a key ingredient – baking soda.  Steady hand, Daddy!

The second key ingredient – vinegar!

Then…watch the VOLCANIC ERUPTION!