Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It's Simply Magical

Math.  In our home math has almost become a bad word.  My daughter HATES math, while her younger brother LOVES it.  Samuel has no issue with math other than he dislikes having to actually sit down and write out answers.  It comes easily and naturally to him and he excels in it.  Most math he can do in his head, but for the sake of knowing the how-to of math, I make him work it out.  {He really doesn't need to, but no one tell him that, m'kay?}  This further irritates his sister, who while is incredibly smart, she has to work her math.

So this week I really wanted to just chuck the curriculum and do some practical math.  I am eclectic homeschool mom, who would really like to turn totally unschool mom, but I have an addiction to planning. No really, I may need an intervention.  The feel of my planner, the pencils and colored pens for color coding, laying out lessons. . . . Where was I?  Oh yes, the kind of math used in everyday life, how we use it and why it's so important to understand this principles.  They have both been loving math this week, because I've made it fun.  It's exciting to watch them get this excited about this practical math project and everyday they have BEGGED to keep going.  Twice this week I asked where my real children had gone.  I mean seriously, more?

So today, feeling pretty proud of myself for my valiant math effort and the great progress we've made, I sat down to log hours and score other work; my son walks into the office and told me something.  Honestly, I can't even remember what now because the next question had me laughing so hard it didn't even matter what he had said in the beginning.  

"So Mom, is this more of that magical math or regular bookish math?"

What?!?!  Bookish??  Magical??  Well, once I got my laughing over with, I asked, "you mean practical math?"

He responds, "yes, practical math.  I like that math, I'm a practical kind of guy."

More laughing.

Then it hits me!  He can do it, but can't remember what it's called?!?

Maybe we should work more on vocabulary.   {wink}

Monday, June 23, 2014

Green Mom or Grace Mom?

How many times have I read online all the things some homeschooling moms get done in a day and I walk away thinking, "wow Val, you need to get on the ball!"  I mean I'm a super mom too. . . .I just have a feeling that I'm more like the green guy below and not the perfectly coiffed, cape wearing, I've got this hero. . . .

Super hero??  Not the kind of super hero most mamas are striving to be right?  Do you ever feel like this?  I love my kids and they are wonderful kids, but they aren't perfect and they have an imperfect mother.  They argue and push my buttons and each others button so well it's scary.  And well, while my Samuel is amazingly bright, he is VERY active.  Samuel needs his hands to be busy the ALL. THE. TIME.  And honestly, it's tiring sometimes.  And sometimes this mama is more like Hulk than a Godly, gentle woman.  Did I mention that this would be a very transparent post?  

I read a scripture a couple of years ago that has stuck in my head.  1 Peter 4:10 states "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:" and that scripture just kind of reached off the page and poked me in the forehead.  The mental image that came to me was this:  I was standing under a pitcher of water being poured into me and I had one hand outstretched and that water flowed through me and out my fingers to someone else.  See, I am sure that I often push the good Lord's buttons.  I am sure that my whining and complaining, lack of patience and gentleness make the Lord shake His head.  I am DAILY in need of His grace, which He freely gives.  My children are also in need of grace, because they are children.  But because I'm tired or in pain (chronic pain disease is no walk in the park) or overwhelmed I too often do not extend grace like I should.  I want them to know grace and how to give it to others and I'm the one teaching, or should be, what that looks like.  *Sigh*  And even on the days where all the schoolwork gets done, but Hulk-mom made an appearance, I go to bed feeling like a failure.  

Thankfully, I wake up to new mercies every morning and if I chose to accept that precious gift I can make the new day a better one.  I'm learning.  I'm learning to be an extender of grace.  Grace is unmerited and undeserved and God freely gives it to me when I need it most, our children deserve the same from us.  Grace doesn't mean punishment isn't given for wrongdoing, but it means punishment from a place of love instead of frustration.  I admit this is hard because it's frustrating.  ~Laughter~  I know I'm not alone in this feeling.  Constant arguing, fidgeting during reading time, poking one another evoking arguing or crying is all frustrating.  But if an Almighty God, creator of the universe can extend grace to me in all my mistakes; surely I can offer the same to my babies.  

A couple of weeks ago we were out driving in a storm.  The storm finally moved on and I pulled off the highway because we were trying to decide where to go for dinner and right there was a GORGEOUS rainbow.  A beautiful reminder of God's promise and my youngest, Daniel said, "wow, that's a blessing".  He saw in that moment the significance of God's promise and His grace.  I want my children to know that even in the most stormy situation, whether of their own making or that of someone else, that grace can be given and it's a blessing.  

Hulk mom doesn't appear very often anymore and for that I'm thankful and I give God all the glory for it!  I'm not perfect, but I'm striving to be the woman, wife and mama God wants me to be and that includes being a good steward of God's grace.  I want it to flow from me with ease, even in the most uneasy and frustrating situations.

By the way, Hulk mom only used her voice, but it was enough.  I would hate for you to think I was smashing things.  And this is not a post about letting things slide when punishment is necessary {like lying}, but it is about knowing how to extend grace while teaching right and wrong, without turning into a giant green mom with a deep voice and speaking in one syllable words.    ~Smile~  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Expo Did Something To Me, Part 1

My perspective has been greatly changed since being at the expo two weeks ago.  All of the speakers were good but one of the gentlemen there said something that has me re-evaluating everything we do and why we do it.

First let me say that the concept he was teaching on isn't foreign to me, but for some reason it made a more lasting impression on me.  It prompted me to think about all the areas of our Lovelock life that directly or indirectly connect to the principle of:  finding your child's bent and fostering it.

Again, not a new concept at all.  But on this day, this speaker and the whole lesson just got me really thinking about my kids and their individuality.  It also go me to thinking about my own bent and how have I, either fostered it or stifled it.

I am hoping this blog post, accompanied by other posts, will in fact make sense.  I currently have a lot of stuff floating around in this head of mine and while I can easily see the connection, I may not accurately get it out in an understandable post.  But I'm going to try.

When hubby and I decided long ago, before kids were even in the picture that we would homeschool we had very specific reasons.  None of those reasons included finding our child's bent and fostering it.  We had and still have excellent reasons, but the older I get and the older they get I realize it is about so much more than just what they are learning from a book.  It's always been about the Biblical knowledge (one of our biggest reasons) and about developing good character.  But over the years the burden weighed heavy that academically they must learn and the Bible lessons and character lessons didn't always get the time and attention they needed (I'm just being real here people).  Don't get me wrong they get a lot of Bible in their life and character development through daily life, but my original plan had a more structured idea of teaching those two things.  Just like the Bible and character lessons, developing their interests or their bent had to play second fiddle to the "this is required and we must get this done, the other stuff will have to wait".  Honestly, that takes the fun out of homeschooling and you find yourself in a rut.

Please don't take this out of context, I am acutely aware that solid academics are important and need to be taught.  But along the way the gifts and talents that God gave them need to be, must be, developed.  There is a vital reason that those gifts and talents were grafted into our children and who are we to decide that's not who they are or that something else would be better for them??

And that, folks, is the end of part one.  Part two will be posted in the next couple of days!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Whew!! I Need to Update Here!!

Wow!  What a semester this has turned out to be!  Since the last post, co-op is in its last four weeks of the semester, Makiah has been in the hospital twice and had a major operation, we have gotten so off that 'ideal' schedule that I can't even believe that is how we started out!!

Let me back up.

Makiah had to have a complete colectomy.  She basically spent the month of September in the hospital and therefore basically no school work was accomplished!  Thank goodness for documentaries and educational programming!

All the kids are doing great, we aren't as on track as I would like for us to be, but we are doing good as far as hours.  We will spend December getting caught up and prepare for her second surgery.

I ordered a new program I am going to try out with Daniel.  He is just not taking to the A Beka way of doing things.  I am so glad I have learned to be more flexible!!  I ordered this book and I think it's going to work well for us.  Some days I think he just doesn't want to do the work and other days I think we may truly be dealing with a developmental delay or learning disability.  Time will tell.

All in all everyone is doing well and I am pleased with their progress, considering their mama changed up every single thing about our homeschool!!  {Laughter}

Finally, I want to share a link with you that I love!!  I love getting things for free and most homeschool families I know do too!!  Contented Home compiled a list for us all to use, links for free Kindle books!!    I love using my Kindle app and getting FREE books.  Yay!!

Okay, next post will be all about Five In a Row and my love for it!!  I hope you all are having a great school year this far!!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Day in the Life @ Principle Things

I am hoping to find a good rhythm for us soon considering we started school something like 6 or 7 weeks ago.  Seriously, we are enjoying the new curriculum and all the new fun activities but we are still adjusting our schedule.  But, having said that I do have an ideal plan in mind and over the next couple of weeks I see us completely getting into the groove of things.  Isn't that an adorable little screen shot of a FABULOUS app?!?  I love this app.  I love it way better than the $40 one I purchased.  This iPad app is going to help keep me sane.  I am hopeful anyway.

First of all, this year is completely different but you knew that already because of this post.  We are all adjusting to the new type of curriculum and the work that goes with it.  We love it, it's just new and we are having to reprogram our brains.  Especially me, my brain doesn't reprogram as easy as theirs!  Ha!

Second:  as usual, every year brings its own special, new challenges and changes and this year it is Kindergarten for the baby.  ~Tear~  I can't believe my 'baby' is in Kindergarten, but I can whine about that later.  He is my different child.  A good kind of different, but different nonetheless. He doesn't learn like any of the other children and he picked up so much just through being here and listening the last five years he is further along than I thought.  So I am having to change up what I thought would be a simple progression through his curriculum because he knows way more than anyone realized.  And because I am a mama that loves order (you must go in sequence, you must or I tend to wince a lot) it's killing me to basically tear apart the order of curriculum and just go with the flow.  I'm getting there and fortunately since eclectic seems to be the best way for him to learn, he is loving the crazy diversity.  Me, well, like I said, I'm getting there.  ~Smile, wince, smile~

Third:  in two weeks we will begin something else that is new. . . .once per week co-op.  So Tuesday won't look like any other day.  I'm good with that and even excited, but it will look different from every other day.

So, whew, having rambled through all that, here is my ideal day:

6 am:  Mommy up~morning mama devotion in the quiet and exercise (these are critical for me and can't be skipped)
7:30 am:  Prep Hubs breakfast (if eating at home) and if needed, get kids up (on days we need the van)
8 am:  Morning Meeting (this is breakfast, kids devotion and daily agenda laid out)
8:30-9 am:  Spic and Span Cleaning Crew Morning Clean Up
9 am:  School begins (each child has a specific schedule of work)
10:10-10:30 am:  Break and snack
10:30-Noon:  School Work, Work with Mom, and iff completed work Lego or Play Doh Time
Noon-1 pm:  Lunch and Quick clean up (lunch messes)
1-2 pm:  Finish up core work, if finished then onto non-core, mama's office work
2-3:15 pm:  Non-core activities, mama's office work
3:15-4 pm:  Quiet Play, everyone benefits from very quiet time. . .especially the mama
4-4:45 pm:  Spic and Span Cleaning Time, dinner prep (and pick up dad if we have the van)
Free time before and after dinner.

Our evening routine is rarely routine because of various evening activities, but when we are home this is what it will and for the most part does look like (summer bedtimes are still slightly in play but that is changing):

7:30 pm:  Bedtime routine begins (on nights not at church)
8:30 pm:  Younger boys must be in bed
9:15 pm:  Lights out for Makiah

Sunday around here is an ALL DAY EVENT and on Monday we all tend to be slightly exhausted.  So Monday is known as Lite Day.  We still work, but we don't usually start until 10 and we dismiss a little early.  We always do Math, Language Arts and either science or social studies and a non core (something fun and easy going).

9-10:30 am:  Library time
11-3 pm:  Co-op

Our Friday schedule will not follow these specific times because Friday around here is known as Finish Up Friday!  We use Friday to catch up on any lessons that we may have lagged behind on or needed extra help with, lapbooking for the boys, art projects that need completing, etc.  The only actual lesson that is scheduled for everyone is Math.  If, and that's a big if, there is nothing to finish up, then I will go ahead and add a couple of lessons or we will do review sheets.  Also, one Friday per month our homeschool group has a field trip.  So Friday will always be a full day, it just may not look exactly like the schedule above.

So as you can see, with the exception of Wednesday and Thursday, our days vary greatly!  But that's good. . . .I'm hoping it will keep boredom and burn out far, far away.  ~Wink~

I love the way we are homeschooling this year.  The kids love it too.  We have joy in homeschooling again and all of us had lost our joyful homeschooling spunk.  So while our schedules are zany and different almost everyday, we are learning and having fun doing it!

This shall be my motto for the year. . . . .

To hopefully avoid looking like this. . .

. . . . well, not everyday anyway!!  Ha!

Praying we have a most fantastic year!!  Thankfully God helps us everyday, even on the days when we are zany, crazy!

Monday, August 12, 2013

It's a New School Year!!

The 2013-2014 school year is off to a rockin' start!!

We are starting our fifth week of school and the kids are doing great and having fun with our new curriculum.  I completely jumped out of our homeschooling boat and switched up just about everything that we do for school.  And I can truly say that I couldn't be happier.  Here's our line up:


BJU Fundamentals of Math 7
BJU Life of Christ
BJU World Studies
Apologia Human Anatomy (1st sem) and Physcial Science (2nd sem)
Literature ~ I am creating this as we go
Cover Story for Grammar and Creative Writing
Culinary Basics ~ created by me as we go


BJU Math 3
BJU English 2
A Beka Health, Manners and Safety 2
Apologia Swimming Creatures
A Beka Our America Social Studies (as well as various unit studies)
BJU Bible


Five in a Row
A Beka Kindergarten Learning to Read
Lots of lapbooking
A Beka K5 Math
ABC Mouse

A couple of classes we haven't started yet because we are doing co-op classes starting in September, so I have been doing unit studies for Social Studies and Science with Sam.  We finished up our Twisters! study and this week and next we will be doing Knights and Castles for Social Studies and Honey Bees for Science.

We are having a lot of fun, enjoying learning.  It's been a couple of years since we were really, deeply excited about a new school year because we were all bored with our curriculum.  Now we are approaching this year with great joy and flexibility.  It's grand!

I will be blogging a lot more this year and documenting our journey with pictures!  Happy Monday everyone!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Long School Year

I feel like this school has gone on forever!!  I started out the year really pumped and ready, but for some reason my pumpedness, pumped out too quickly.  Then Makiah got really, really sick and now I'm having surgery for a gall bladder that decided to go rogue.  So needless to say, I'm ready for the school year to be done (no where near done!!) because I have decided that we are in a rut!  That's right and I'm going to de-rut us.

We are going to change curriculums!!  This is huge because I have been using this curriculum since day one of homeschooling, mostly because it's what I knew.  I had no idea seven years ago how many curriculums were out there.  I'm bored with this one, it feels so confining.  And I have being doing supplemental work with it to make it more fun but then we don't get all our book work done.  So I'm switching it up and stepping way out of my comfort zone!  But I'm ready for it and very excited.  I have pretty much figured out all the curriculum's for each kidlet and I'm ready to start hunting out gently used copies and saving up the cash for purchasing this summer.

Also next fall our homeschool group will be starting up a co-op.  I have volunteered and I'll be teaching 1st and 2nd grade Social Studies!  I'm over the moon excited about working with a class of kiddos having fun while learning and also giving my kids a chance to be in some different classes too!  Win-win!!  I love history and geography so this is the perfect class for me to be teaching, because I love the subject and the craftiness that goes along with it!

So how are we going to make the rest of this year exciting??  Well I'm open to suggestions, so please comment away.  But I'm also going to do more lapbooking with the youngers and Makiah will start working on her project for the fair in April.  We will just plow through the rest of the work for this year and keep focused.

Hopefully, with all the excitement of the coming school year, it will just fly by?!?  Maybe?!?  Here's hoping!  ~Smile~