Friday, August 17, 2012

Birthday Thanks

Okay, thanks for all the birthday greetings on my 100th post.

I am going away to a little cabin in the far far away woods with friends and family.

Ps:  Bronwyn and Max started PE today at a public school.  How fun is that!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Annie is Back

There is an amazing gal named Annie who is full of life and passionate for Jesus.  She just got back from serving the King in China.  I love missions and I wanted to help by giving her time to debrief and reflect and to teach me.

Of course, sitting around a cup of tea would be a normal debrief.  We did things different.  We went on the most exhilarating mountain bike single track ever.

We often find ourselves in adventures together.  So riding down a single track the wrong way, getting lost, going over jumps, feeling like I was on a fast roller coster, and riding perpendicular to the ground was just some of the ride today.

During the trail, we mostly screamed.  We did have time to talk on the drive to the trail and home. It was so encouraging to hear the lessons learned and the challenges and joys she faced.
"I learned this over the summer in China that it is worth laying
down the pride of independence to introduce Jesus to someone for the
first time" by Annie Rowland.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Why I want no electricity

I am so thankful to be able to have an Ipad this year for school (Mat-Su Central). People in this amazing state of Alaska can sign up for a school district that allows us to teach at home.  While under the umbrella of this home education, we are given a teacher and money to purchase supplies and classes.  The teacher provides me with the checks and balances for what we are teaching to what the child is learning.

Having an Ipad makes finding information so easy.  So, while I was spending time in God's Word I had my ipad right next to me.  Every time I had a random thought (which surprisingly I have many), I could just touch my ipad and find my answers.  After 2 hours of "spending time with Jesus" I had yet to pray.

The ironic thing is the passage that I was reading was the Luke 22 garden of gethsemane prayer with Jesus and His disciples.  Since the disciples were suppose to pray (Jesus told them to) but they fell asleep. I didn't fall asleep.  But, I did fall into temptation for information.  I should of heeded Jesus' request to “Pray that you will not fall into temptation."

So, after a conversation with Mary (missionary in South Africa--love her), I decided candlelight, tape recorder for music (not the ipad), coffee, and a printed bible plan (not on the ipad), and a Bible (not a online bible) will be for me and Jesus in the morning less I fall into temptation.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Science Comes Alive in a bink (even at the kitchen table or couch)

I don't know where it started, but I am sure others have done this for years.  But, when we got a Kindle Fire (mini tablet), it was sitting right beside me where I was reading from Exploring Creation (Sea Creatures).  The book was giving a great explanation of a deep sea creature, but the illustration looked odd. It was like a knot.

So, I went to You Tube and plugged in Rag Fish and pop.  A most interesting video of a live Hag Fish that words can hardly describe.

My children and I will be impacted by the live action of this amazing creature.  God's garbage disposal creature from the inside out.

However, I now keep a tablet by me when I am teaching so that if we want to see something in action, one quick search and voila!  It comes alive.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Drama Can Begin...Now.

"The drama can!" That is what I would say when I dropped my children off at the Valley Performing Arts.  They were able to be in a musical drama camp with a performance at the end of the two weeks of intense rehearsals.

I began the two weeks by taking Max to the doctors to have a written approval of freedom from the itchy chick pox virus.  Yeah, he passed!

Hannah, Max, and Bronwyn all loved learning how to block, memorize lines, choreography and speaking with the character in mind.

However, during the last week, Hannah came down with a fever and yes... Chicken pox!  She was heartbroken, but she took it well.

The performance was good with Bronwyn hitting every note with gusto.  

My man. I am so glad he did it!

I love hiking.  I have climbed countless mountains in the past three months.  However, I am not alone in this pursuit.  My hunny has been climbing right beside me.

We enjoy God's playground and have interesting conversations up those trails.

This year, James wanted to do the Mat-Peak Challenge.  It is an insane race up two mountains.  You race up Lazy Mountain then down the back of it, hike up Mat-Peak, then back down.  They you climb up the back side of Lazy Mountain to the top and back down to the trailhead.

It has been called the "Ultimate Mountain Run" with a 14 mile ascent and descent of two mountains including 9000 feet of elevation gain and loss.  Ugh.

My husband is not afraid of challenges and he did it.  My friend (Christy who won) says that this race even the other mountain runners steer clear from because it is so much harder.

I asked him at the end his thoughts, "It was a dream....a NIGHTMARE!"  He believe the pain was so much more than any marathon.  I just am thankful for no injuries.

James said that the coming down Lazy Mountain was slicker than snot.  He even was crouched on his feet and sliding down because he couldn't stand up.

Co-op for optimal benefit

When I look back on my homeschool years, the time spent learning with others have been the cream. I love cream.  It is not necessary, but it sure makes everything better.

How do you start a co-op?
Find people who are using the same program.  Tapestry of Grace year 2 (for example), or the same science program, or writing program.
Clearly define expectations, goals, dreams for the group
Once a quarter, have a planning meeting.
During that meeting, we would go week by week delegating out the planned activity or field trip. If you only can meet every two weeks or one a month, plan accordingly.  We would also have a parent be a baby watcher while the others were teaching.
When the students get to the older years, have a parent assigned to facilitate the history discussion.  

Fun stuff to think about
I found it so helpful when my children were younger to have to wait and under the authority of other teachers.  In a group setting, larger than your family, it is a great way to have your learn respect as your child is not the center of attention.
Those crafts or role plays, become the hooks where your teaching becomes implanted into their life.
Encouragement of other moms to pray and to spur each other to become more like Christ.
Use the creative gifts and passions of other women to make your homeschool amazing.  For example we had some experts in singing, drama, sewing, etc that I don't possess.
It gave us the accountability to finsh strong throughout the year.
Science experiments is fun to tackle with another mom or dad to help.

I just listened to a webinar about using a co-op to share your writing.  We will be doing that from the key word outlines made from Institute in Excellence in Writing and Tapestry of Grace writings.  

Friday, August 10, 2012

choices...less is more

Before starting a school year there is the choices of "extra" activities.  I thankfully have almost finished For the Children's Sake by SUSAN SCHAEFFER MACAULAY. It is refreshing summer read book that I will re-read.  I do value the  principle of keeping the children's schedule free to play and be kids.  In the book, she values highly the effect of being in the outdoors.  We live in Alaska.  So, we need to be a bit creative to keep our kids active during the dark days of winter.  

But, as of now, I am so excited that I will be out of the house ONE DAY a week during school time.  Yes, on two nights, either James or I can bring Hannah to ballet but it is after dinner and gives us some good time to connect with our oldest.  I choose to combine our one day out with a myriad of activities.  So, we will be free to go walk in the park or listen to a concert at the local library. 
enjoying a flute concert at the Art & Garden Fair in Palmer, AK

Not too early to learn about vegetable shopping from local growers.  

Max: (before being eaten by a giant Venus Fly Trap)
Pioneer Club
speech share co-op
Science co-op
(later: Swimming)

youth group
speech share co-op
Science Co-op
Middle School Book Club

Pioneer Club
speech share co-op
(later: Swimming)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Healing and freedom

Having a past that requires the healing touch from God, I believe there is three main things to mediate on.

  1. Who God is
  2. Who I am
  3. Gods Word the Bible to renew your mind
When I first surrendered my life, I really didn't know God.  However a great book called Lord I want to Know You by Kay Arthur was a great start by looking at the names of God.  In His name shows His character and how He reacts in a variety of scripture revealing his name. When you are faced with his name Adoni as Master or Lord, what do you do? Submit or rebel? When you look at the story of Abraham and Issac you see God reveal himself as the Lord provides.

The second most important part is the truth of who I am in Christ.  I am no longer defined by what others think of me or what I do but by the freedom of who Jesus says I am. My significance and security is based on the truths in His Word.  Ephesians has truths of who God says followers of Christ that is repeated over and over.  I used the the book Victory over the darkness by Neil Anderson.  However, since I first read it, I don't agree with everything he says but he does have a great chapter about our identity In Christ.

The third is to renew your mind.  Beth Moore also believes to not allow any destructive thoughts to have a stonghold but to instead make our mind captive to God.  She goes on to say you can't change the way you feel but you can change the way you think and that will change the way you feel.  I  believe the most effective way to apply the truth of Romans 12:2 of renewing ones mind is to mediate/memorize scripture.  Even just reading the Bible will be a great starting place to have you to think differently.  I want to know my Father so well that I will start to discern situations and love people the way He would because I have the actual recordings of how he worked in the past.  

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Oh no, it's Monday. How to begin your week with Tapestry of Grace

Every year and even each quater might look a bit different, but I wanted to share how it looked like on the average week. We love the freedom Tapestry of Grace gives.

We begin by spending some time in the Word and having the children journal the journey.  I really like to have the children share what they observe in the Bible instead of telling them what I think it says.

Then we go to the Kitchen Table

I have the student open up their working notebooks on the kitchen table.

  1. Read the page Weekly Overview
  2. hand out the books and have them highlight the books that are required reading for that week.
    1. I may adjust and add more or less depending on the "load" of that week or if the student has finished early a "required reading" they could "choose their own title."
  3. Have the children pick out their activity for the week (or choose for them). Looking at each week, I sway their choices.  They might need to take two or three weeks for one activity, but if they choose it they will love it more.  Some activities are vetoed by me because of weather or cost.  However, most are easy to pull off and my children remember the fun things.
  4. We then go over vocabulary for comprehension and sometimes add it to their spelling list (later post)
  5. Introduce the writing for the week and give them a deadline for 1st, 2nd and final draft.  I choose to combine Writing Aids with Institute of Excellence of Writing. (I will explain writing in detail later)
  6. Then they are off...
  7. I use a White Board with the weekly disciplines with a Sharpie but a dry erase of their initials. When they finish a discipline, they show me the work and then they can erase their initial. 
During the week, we often do maps on Thursday. (later post)
Cocoa Time on Friday.  (later post)

Thats how we play our week of Tapestry of Grace.  How do you plan yours?