Thursday, August 18, 2016

These are the days

These are the days that make me love homeschooling.  The days where I do what my heart tells me to do versus what the plan dictates.  The days we encounter our subjects through art and good literature.  It's been a wonderful day.

We've worked on various cell projects this week: 

Cell murals found in Ellen McHenry's Cells unit study


Cell pizzas

Daniel's cell project-- a 3-D paper cell diorama

Today, we've listened to the rain fall and this Les Miserables radio drama.  I'm sad the rain has stopped and we must go about our busy-ness. 

These are the days that make all the other days bearable! 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sad bunch...

We had the kick-off event for our local homeschool group earlier this week.  Since I have taken over the communications coordinator (volunteer) position in our group, I had to give a "speech".  I was so worried I would do so horrible that people would wonder to themselves, "THIS is our communications person?"  It was a packed house and I am so glad I wrote out notes on the information I needed to cover.  I received lots of positive feedback on my talk and breathed a sigh of relief.  After the business meeting, the kids and I represented a couple of activities we are involved in outside.  Michael ran around with other kids and I thanked the Lord he didn't wander too far off. 

The next morning, Michael woke up sick from allergies.  He has battled with them all week long.  JP isn't feeling well (not connected to Michael) and is going to the doctor tomorrow.  Tera had an impromptu doctor's appointment on Friday to check on her wrist.  She was diagnosed with tendonitis and has to take 2 weeks off from fencing and other activities that irritate it.  Modified school work maybe a part of her recovery.  She is so sad about that!  Allergies or old age is effecting my eyesight--I'm having to move things back and forth to find the sweet spot if there is little print.  We are a sad bunch this week!  Daniel's only malady is his hair is too short from his much needed haircut. 

 Our new microscope came...

Since Michael and JP weren't feeling well, we cancelled our plans to have a few friends over at the last minute.  We had a nice "gouter" for French class.  

Tera's other cell project...

Daniel turned his cell model in, but then he took off with it before I could take a picture.  Daniel and I are working hard this year on his proofreading and editing skills.  He is a very creative writer, but needs some fine tuning.  We sit down with every writing assignment and walk through it one sentence at a time.  

Even though our plans with friends were cancelled, Tera and Daniel were invited to hang out on two separate occasions.  They welcomed getting out of the infirmary.  

I found out yesterday, a good friend that I went to school with from kindergarten to graduation, passed away.  He had been battling an incurable brain cancer and took a sudden turn for the worse.  He and I settled in the same part of the country and I had the privilege of visiting him in the hospital.  His passing has saddened me greatly.  I know he was a Christian and he is not suffering anymore, but it's still very sad.  No matter how old I get, it still doesn't feel right when someone "my age" passes away.  I've been thinking a lot about his family.  

My heart is heavy....

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Week 4--One Month!

One month complete....

My high school students are finally in their groove.  They are anticipating what needs to get done and getting on the ball early in the week.   There have been some frustrations.  Mondays and Tuesdays are the hardest.  Wednesdays, we kinda hold our breathe and plow on through.  Thursdays and Fridays, we breathe a sigh of relief. 

In biology, we are studying cells.  Michael always asks for his packet of papers--(biology coloring sheets, and special projects).  He's been working this week on cell organelles and functions flashcards that I intended for Tera and Daniel.  Works for me!

A make-your-own cell project was assigned and is due next week.  Tera did two projects--one for extra credit. (Yes, she can be an over-achiever).  Daniel will be working on his paper diorama this weekend.  Michael is doing either a shrinky dink version or a mini tin cell project that we found on pinterest, as soon as I get myself in gear and help him with it. 

Tera completed one of her cell projects early...sugar cookie cell

In British literature, we are finishing up the Middle English period and moving on.  Both, Tera and Daniel wrote epic poems on the life of David.  That was a hard assignment for both of them!  Next week, Flight of Israel tales and Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.  

Michael and I have been reading Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski and The Green Ember.  He wrote his first "paper" on the Battle at Valley Forge.  Tera taught him all about plagiarism and making sure not to copy another author's work.  
We finished up the week with French twists and watching a cultural video about Paris.  

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Another week bites the dust....

Week 3....
I have found that my children need advance warning if we are going to have a crazy day or week.  So, I was prepared in advance this week and gave them notice.  Thursday was going to be a fun, yet long day, without school in the mix.  We worked around that day and they got all their schoolwork done before fencing on Friday.  (That's our new rule--all the week's work has to be done before they leave.)
Peanuts movie, dentist consult for one and dentist appointments for all, a library chess tournament....

Week 3....

Some highlights: 
  • New blogs were created as part of computer class:  Life and Times of a Homeschool Teen and life music chess.  We will be using this opportunity to also work on writing and editing. 
  • Michael actually chose to play in the chess tournament and had a great time!
  • No one died from biology.
  • Milkshakes all around after great reports from the dentist.
  • Last week of summer Bible study--it was such a blast!

Joshua and the Battle of Jericho
Saturday, I was up and out of the house before 6 AM for the CCI yard sale with my trusty sidekick, Tera.  We are in a transition year with an upheaval in our location.  We are trying to function like they have in the past years, but it has been very difficult.  Tera and I have been trying to come up with some new ideas that are less strenuous on the CCI volunteers--mainly a group of older ladies.  Here is one of the ideas I came up with to present for our booth at the town's fall festival:
Today, we took a day of rest and hung around the house.  The last couple of days I have not felt well, but today I felt like my body is starting to chill out a bit.  After resting and unplugging for the most part this weekend, I feel so much better!  Tera fell asleep on the couch; Daniel laid down in bed to read for a long time; Michael and I snuggled on the couch to read The Green Ember. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Spiritual Hoarding

This morning I woke up thinking...

Today, we have one of those consultation appointments that basically informs us what some dental work for one of our children is going to cost over the multiple stages. Our van may finally be on its last leg.

Instead of thanking the Lord for his never-ending provision, I started giving into worry. Worrying about things and situations that haven't even happened yet or I can do anything about TODAY.  Praying out of worry... 

It struck me that I was trying to be a spiritual hoarder! I was worrying about God providing for these situations that we haven't even had to deal with yet. I wanted His blessings/provisions in advance, so I can put it in my little spiritual bank account. So, I can pack it away all nice and neat for just the right time. Instead of trusting and exercising my faith, I start to sound like Veruca Salt--"Don't care how, I want it now!" Then, I'll be happy! But will I really? I'll probably just find something else to worry about.

The most powerful experience I ever had with God's provision came during the greatest time of loss in the life of our family. When my brother, Terry, passed away, JP and I signed our names to the over $9000 funeral bill with NO IDEA how we were going to come up with that money. After being awake for over 36 hours straight, I remember a conversation we had before collapsing. I'm sitting on the side of mom's bed and JP turns to me and says, "Honey, you realize that we just signed our names to $9000 and we have no money!" I replied in exasperation, "Yes, but there is nothing I can do....God's going to have to do it! I'm going to sleep!"

The next day, a friend of the family asked if we wanted her to call his employer and inquire about life insurance. We told her, "Sure, go ahead!" One of the bosses told her that he never turned in the paperwork. Sigh... But he wanted to call his brother and he would get in touch with us. Within a short period of time, he returned her call and said, "Have them send the bill to us!" What?!? God moved when I was powerless to do so! God moved in such a way that almost 20 years later, I can still recognize it was only through Him and give Him praise for it!   

God doesn't always provide our financial needs in such a dramatic way.   BUT He does promise to give us just what we need when we need it! No amount of worry will change that!  Sometimes He has different ideas about what we need vs. what we want.  Sometimes making us wait fulfills a bigger purpose than we know.  Sometimes we have to learn bigger lessons about faith and trust. 


Do we pray expecting God to supply all our needs in a spiritual bank account that we can draw upon when WE decide we need it?   Or do we pray His will be done and trust Him to provide according to HIS wisdom and understanding? Do we trust HIM no matter what the future holds for us?


Hoarding and worry can go hand in hand.  I don't want to be a spiritual hoarder.  Trying to stock up on God's blessings, instead of enjoying His daily provisions.  Letting worry, instead of praise, spur my prayers. 

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.

Are you not much more valuable than they?  

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?


 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.

Each day has enough trouble of its own." 


Matthew 6:25-34

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Week 2: Alabama, Biology and a lot less Craziness!

Week 2 of the 2016-2017 school year is complete!  (Well, if you don't count those biology labs we need to finish on Monday)

The second week of school went so much better than the first.  I'm finding that my assessment of limiting our morning activities was spot on.  It's taking us much of the morning and into the afternoon to complete our schoolwork.  I think as the kids and I get more into the groove things will only get easier.  We redefined some expectations after a writing assignment had to be redone last weekend.  This week's assignments were right on point.  

Tera's project on symbiosis

It amazes me how much Michael learns just because he is the youngest with teenager siblings.  

In addition to his own school work...

He played his parts in several skits about the Knights of the Round Table....

learned about size relationships in biology....

 I love how my children have been turning all the unclothed men in our coloring sheets into various characters.  We've had super heroes, Gandalf and hippies. 

We've been reading all about people from Alabama--Rosa Parks, Booker T. Washington, Jesse Owens, and George Washington Carver.  Because our lives have been quite busy lately, Michael's food from Alabama consisted of peanuts in a coke (he shared that with his brother) a moon pie and his first taste of bologna (which can only be served fried).    He loved all of it!  


At the end of this week, things are looking up....

Saturday, July 16, 2016

First week of school---

Whew, that was a whirlwind week!

We started back to school on Monday.  I have some thoughts about the whole week:

  • I "lectured" on two different biology lessons this week.  It was fun having two students taking notes while I lectured.  I loved biology in high school and hope to be able to communicate the subject in a way that my kids enjoy it as well. 

  • Michael and I need to find our groove.  I felt like his week wasn't as fun because I spent a lot of time making sure my 10th and 9th grader were getting accustomed to the new year and different expectations.  It's okay, but just not what I would like.  It's only the first week, so I'm cutting myself some slack.

  • We definitely have to limit our outside activities during the morning this year.  We NEED to be at home consistently in the mornings for this amount of workload.  The kids have several subjects that cannot be done on the road like in years past.  We went to the annual meeting for our church denomination and the kids had a hard time getting their work done.  Some days you just can't help it, but I'm going to guard our morning time as much as possible. 

  • Having a specific plan is good.  I have that in place this year and it feels good.  I am able to stay on top of what each kid is doing and how they are doing on a daily basis.  It helps immensely that Tera and Daniel are sharing 4 core classes this year as well. 

  • I'm trying to be more of one of those "learn alongside my kids this year", instead of just facilitating their learning.  It's going to be hard! 

First day of school ice cream that actually happened on Thursday, we splurged on Froyoz. 

On Fridays, we will have a French cultural activity.  This week, we (myself included--top right) drew the Eiffel Tower.  Instead of following the tutorial, Daniel printed out a picture and drew freehand. 

How to Draw the Eiffel Tower: 

Monday, July 11, 2016

First Day of School Pictures 2016-2017

First Day of School

What I want to be when I grow up:   


 I've been taking this same picture since Daniel was in kindergarten.

I can't believe how these kids have grown.












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