Monday, April 30, 2012

Homeschool Pow Wow!

POW-WOW (homeschool style)
A few people have wondered about Tapestry of Grace and another friend was unable to attend the homeschool conference.  So, I gathered some people together to encourage and equip one another.
Some of the notes include:
  • Read good books, not just fluff. List of good books
    • Honey for a Child's Heart by Hunt
    • Read for your Life by Hunt
    • Books Children Love by Wilson
  • Science Exploration Exploration
    • was good at the experiments and explanation
  • Apologia Science all loved
  • Institute in Excellence in Writing we talked about Fix-it! a grammar book correcting skills
  • Spelling Power
  • Phonetic Zoo Spelling from Institute in Excellence in Writing

  • Scripps Spelling Bee (for the Nintendo DS) which my children's scores on their weekly tests were amazing.  *downsize it is sometime misplaced 
  • Interesting Website help
    • is a fee based math but only has the student work on what he doesn't know
    • is a online subscription that is tailored to math requirements per state and grade
    • is a simple guy teaching math, science, and art and it is free
  • Atelier Art DVD teacher who explains art and makes it do-able for children and adult
  • Teaching Textbooks (video math) that corrects instantly as the student is working on the problems
  • Math u See (mastery math)

There was a long explanation of Tapestry of Grace and the benefits of using this amazing program.

Since it is now spring, I needed the refreshment from others in this journey of training our children.  Thanks for all that came and gave your input.

Week in our Life


It was just another gorgeous day here in Palmer.  We are studying Roman mosaics and decided to take the dog and go to the river and collect some gems.  It was a dream.

We painted using Atelier.  I have no idea what happened as my camera was snatched but, I wish I did.

Securing a place for "Squeezed with Loved" my children's lemonade stand for Lemonade Day next to Vagabond blues in Palmer, was top on the list.  They are learning about investing, marketing, and giving.  They decided to buy a goat with their profits for a needy family overseas through Samaratins Purse.

Since it was Rewards day at the Pioneer club at church, Max, Bronwyn and I biked from our home to the church.  It was so refreshing and beautiful.  They all did great on their projects this year. 

Bronwyn and Hannah love volunteering.  Hannah has recently been serving at Thrifters Rock a local charity shop sorting items and cleaning the shop.  Bronwyn and I go and serve at the Animal Shelter.  She is so good with the animals and loves helping with vet with the surgeries.  We spent this Thursday cleaning bathrooms as well.

Finishing Strong
Friday became a great day to have school hanging on the golden tree in front of the library.  We had to go out because of retrieving the coolest new bikes for the seasons thanks to Mat-Su Bike n Hike .  This summer the kidos and I will be learning all kinds of Mountain Biking skills and explore the amazing trails right here in the valley.  Monday nights 6 to 7:30!

I also spent time volunteering at the library as the kids finished school.  I wasn't very fast today because so often I get excited and start perusing the books.  I got a book on pebble mosaic and another couple about decks because James is wanting to expand our entertaining area this summer. Here is our children getting into the deck holes.

We had a lazy morning, after a 6 mile run with a friend.  Then we went to Hannah's spring dance recital.  She did amazing.  It also was rewarding to see some great friends do their senior dance recital.  We came home for a good discussion about Heaven with our life group. 

Spending the day aching and in pain is no fun.  Especially when it is Sunday.  However, a low fever, pounding headache, and lack of appetite meant this girl was sick.  Thankfully, it was only less than a day, and I am able to type and read.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

No games, bad food, and no fun. But 50 came!

Coffee and Jesus:  perfection

Practical Application in Groups

Getting supplies for the crafts that emphasize the Bible Truths



Teaching others how to do the project

One of my fears coming back to the USA was that my children would not be involved in ministry.  I was fearful that they would just be spoonfed in a well orchastrated childrens ministry.  My first sentence to Andy Miller, Youth Pastor at Lazy Mt. Bible Church, went something like this, "Hi, my name is Ella and I would love to find a way that my daughter could serve as a young person."
Learning how to study their Bible

Well, Hannah wasn't old enough (must be 12) that year.  In retrospect, I can see she had enough challenges adjusting to the new culture and maturity.  I am glad it is at 12. 

Taking notes from the best TEACHER Jesus Christ
Thankfully, Andy asked if I would be interested in help during the YOUTH IN TRAINING (YIT) retreat. After prayer, I believed God did want me to serve there.

I had no idea what to expect or what type of training they would get.  I was blown away at the depth and width that the material lends itself.  Working with Andy and Ian allowed us to teach things we were passionate about.  Since they are both youth pastors, I brought to the table my years of working with children in Africa.

Andy tried all he could to discourage the youth to NOT COME because this is for leaders.  I loved that because they knew that we were there to learn to be leaders and not to be babysat. Nevertheless, 50 people came and sat under 14 hours of teaching from 8:30am to 10pm during a beautiful sunny weekend.

 I am thankful for the hours of training Pat Ayers gave me on the field using the Teaching Children Effectively.  I am also humbled and full of gratitude to Marcie Gustasfon (another missionary in South Africa) who modeled for years how to do ministry to children.  PRAISE GOD.

Signing up to put what they learned into ACTION!
Hannah and her friend Shelby

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lighten the Load, enjoy the journey

If you missed Carlita Boyles from Math on the Level workshop, I would like to pass on her homeschool wisdom.

Time & Plan

  1. you cannot teach your child everything
  2. give them tools to learn and a love of learning
  3. goal is to be a life-long learner not just to finish the books
  4. you cannot give your child every good experience 
  5. its okay to not finish the textbook 
  6. skip chapters that they already know
  7. choose best things for your situation that will yield life long benefit even if it means letting some good things go.
  8. computer is a time zapper
  9. SSR=sustained silent reading time for school
  10. share your passions with your children & pull them into the activity
Your the Expert

  1. don't put yourself down
  2. your not an expert by birth, you learn your child by observation and studying.  
  3. be intentional on what you are doing
  4. go with maturation (level of brain growth-development)
  5. talk with your children
  6. read books aloud
  1. study summer Olympics
  2. use writing Christmas Cards as part of school
  3. in math have them do budgets
  4. life skills in chores
  5. breaking big ideas into smaller chunks so they will learn
  6. Character traits
  7. keep a journal and put it under each childs bed and begin to tell each other the story.
  8. look for positive thing they do during the day- HUNT FOR THE GOOD
Family Traditions
  1. first day of school (out for breakfast)
  2. last day of school picnic lunch
  3. blessing chains or links with the good you see in your child
  4. keep thanksgiving visible
Keeping things Fresh
  1. change locations around the house, library, or a park.
  2. have school under a tent or table
  3. learn in short lessons with a long term view
  4. nap- rest good for babies up to teenagers
  5. building character a priority
  6. teach etiquette- don't assume they will know how to react in different situations, teach them
  7. break hard things into small chunks and intentionally teach it with expectations
  1. The Ordinary Princess
  2. Little Lord Faunthery
  3. Secret Garden
  4. A little Princess
  5. Five Little Pepper series
  6. Wrinkle in Time
  7. Toby Tyler
  8. Old Yeller
  9. Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil & E. Frankweiler
  10. Mrs. Frisby & the Rats of Nimh

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A full day

A dear friend wrote about a day in her life and I decided to do the same.

Woke up too late, but made lunch for James. (trying to serve Him better)
Bible Time with the kids (while Hannah and I are eating our breakfast)
*a bit of a sassy attitude from one-need to stop reading deal with that.  Tell the others to journal a prayer.
back to Bible reading
Whoa! good stuff:  my kids start breaking out in song (even my Max who hates singing)  from Deuteronomy 32 as it was given to Moses (Deuteronomy 31:19) to help the Israelites to know God and who to turn to when they sin (which he knows they will do).  Hannah leads the tune and it sounds good as long as I don't sing with them.)

Piano/Singing teacher is here.
Teach the other two where we are going for the week and dish out the requirements.
*Reading, History, activities, Big picture stuff
Re-teach the other one when he is done.
Journal while little one reads her literature book.  Thank you Lord for the needed FUEL for the day.

Great time of sharing and praying with the piano teacher after she tells me one child didn't practice (ugh).

Science: Yes, it is our last lesson. Learned about amazing microscopic animals who "tun"!  Who would of known?  Now I do.
Journal Science:

Etiquette study on how to handle oneself in an auditorium.  We are going to a dance recital coming up.

Find out my watching 5 children tomorrow is cancelled because of strep.  Ugh. Was looking forward to having extra kids.
-Tattler comes, but I send to deal with the person that was the instigator.  They work it out.

Leave to see a friend wile the three are doing a 45 minute writing lesson with Andrew P.  Come home after an amazing walk in the river with Leo and Willow and Melissa!


Grade all their stuff (math, grammar, etc)
Leave for a meeting about a retreat to train the youth to be helpers in ministry and missions.  Training retreat will be this weekend.  Glad to find time to get together and plan for some amazing stuff happening.
Max plays on the Train with the other boys and Bronwyn attends swimming lesson while we meet.

*a bit irritated that the house can't stay clean, but tell Hannah to tidy it up if she is not going to volunteer anywhere today.  She agrees.

Take Max home to finish grammar and get a book. Change for a run.  Take Max to Swimming.
Unload Bronwyn's bike and Willow and have Bronwyn race around the 3 mile loop with me.  She is usually slower, but this time I have to have her slow down as I am running while she is biking.  But, get back in time to get the needed grocery shopping done.

Pick up Max to take us home then tell Hannah to be ready for Ballet.  Dad arrives 5 minutes later, takes her to ballet.  I sit and finish my Bible Study prep, then dish up dinner.  We eat when Dad returns from the ballet.  Enjoy a meal with the family, set up the remaining chairs for the study.  Bye Dad for his Bible study with the college aged students.  Max is disappointed.

Ladies arrive, and we talk, pray and share this last week.  Then we listen.

Beth Moore is amazing and I am cut to the core and encouraged at the same time.  Share some more.  Get a big hug from Jen.

Now, I finish the laundry and put stuff away.  Look at the amazing photos.  Read a blog.  (Thanks Amanda).  Wait for James to come home 10:28 pm not home yet.  Garage opens, 10:30 HE IS HOME!

Make husband edit this blog.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spring Cleaning

I had an unusual day of worship.  We were late.  That is rare as we are typically early to rise type of people and we usually get to church early since James usually has some part in the service.  However, with James gone on the men's retreat, coupled with staying out way to late Saturday night, we woke up when we usually are leaving.  Thankfully, I arrived in time to meet a visitor who also arrived late and was able to show them to the little kids Sunday School. 

I enjoyed a unique way to pray during the service with slides of requests projected on the big screen and I just loved asking our Heavenly Father for God sized things. 

However, I feel a bit of a spiritual cleaning mode brewing in my heart.  As we went home after church, I wanted to prepare the home for James' return.  The van was a disaster. I saw untold junk and rotten stuff all over the back of the van.  Ugh!  As I was sucking up the popcorn, I thought of how spiritually I can just let things "go to pot".  With the van, I had just sat in the drivers seat unaware of the junk that is stinking in the back.  I don't want that in my spiritual life.  I want spiritual freshness to be real and not some air-freshener just covering up my sin, selfishness, or pride. 

Often Sundays at the Embree household is a "no chore day" and a day of rest, but I am thankful for the cleaning and spiritual time of getting my van and my heart right with the Lord. 

Here are some photos of the extended back yard.  (No one wanted photos of a dirty van)

 The River
 The Last Safe Lake  (snow closest is called "Sinking plains"

 Willow (not a lake)
 Sinking plains again
 The famous photographer.  12 year old Hannah

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

7 oceans out my back door

During the heavy snow, I got permission to run through our neighbors field.  The one you see out my back door.  I took the kids out one day because everyone needed a new change of scenery. Willow loves to bounce in the snow.

in the deep winter
Now, we are in our Alaskan spring.  It is another "favorite" time of year.  The sun races to melt the snow during the long days 6 am to 9 pm.  (and we gain time each day).  Then during the night, it freezes again.  So, our backyard is a mixed bag of a huge mountain of snow hanging on with a mix of grass (some green) and a frozen lake around the rocks.

But, across the street, an adventure awaits.  I think while I was in Guatemala James bought the kids wellies (rain boots).  So, now, they LONG to go out there.  I asked Bronwyn what is so neat.  She says, "We have 7 oceans out their and I got to name them." They are asking for hip waders (not to fish).

I sent them out for 15 minutes, and over an hour later, they came bouncing back drenched.  I don't mind.  It is the epitome of childhood.

I need to talk to the farm owner again because I don't want the kids to ruin the hay fields.  Pray for that as I will be bringing some goodies for his kindness to us.