Saturday, May 29, 2010

Adios, '09-'10 School Year!

Yesterday was our official last day of school before our five-week break. We wrapped up the last little bit of school work, then decorated cupcakes and ate them (for lunch (!), had our own little award ceremony, and played games and played in the water hose in the back yard. We are all quite happy to be "on break"! :)

My friend Sherri is so kind to host a field day for a group of homeschoolers every May. This year was the 10th one! Thank you, 'Miss' Sherri, for sharing your wonderful yard with us each year and planning all of the fun field day stations!

Samuel has budding administrative skills, as you can see.

Valerie and her little sweetie enjoying a drink break

Lovely Lounging Ladies

My friend Kim helps Joe through the obstacle course

The boys waiting for their turn at the 100-meter dash

Carla loves to love on my babies!

It was great to see these friends at field day, for the kids and for the Moms! Over the years, some of us have moved to different churches, so it's so nice to catch up with old friends.

What a fun week! Now, I look forward to a little less structure to our days, and a little more spontaneity. Several projects to tackle, too. Hope you all are enjoying your first days of summer break!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

1 Corinthians 13 for Homeschool Moms

I ran across this today. If you are a homeschooling Mom, go read it. It made me cry with conviction.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Teen-ager-ish Room

A few months ago, Keely told me-in a very diplomatic way- that she felt that her room was a bit too little-girlish, and would like to re-do it for her birthday present.

I guess she has grown up a little in the seven years since I first decorated it for her and Lil.

Good-bye, vines and hidden smiley flowers.

Sweet pink and purple quilts were fitting for my five-year-old...but now, at almost 12, it's time to pass them on.

Sewing pillow inserts

Keels said that everything needed to look 'cool' and 'teen-ager-y'...Must it really?

butterflies from Thailand

So, Happy early birthday, my dear girl. You're growing up and out of little girl things. I'm bracing myself for the coming of many more bittersweet milestones. :)

We have Pottery Barn taste, but a Wal-Mart budget! We copied some ideas from the PB Teen catalog, like the light walls and bright accents, but everything we bought came from Wal-Mart or Target. My favorite thing of all, the curtains, were $14.99 for the pair!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Mom Song

This is pretty cute and your kids will like it, too! :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Flowers, Trees, Little Girls and Tea

We had a fun, fast, and furious weekend here! Friday, Mom came over and we hit some great garage sales before our field trip to the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. We'd never been before, and we had a great time taking in the beauty of the flowers and the kids tried to capture some of it in nature notebooks. They loved running along the paths and 'discovering' waterfalls, quiet nooks with benches, fish ponds, and sculptures. It was a really nice outing.

My Mom ended up spending the night Friday so she could be here Saturday for Rowan's birthday celebration. Which meant....DATE NIGHT! Kevin and I were so excited to be able to get out together--we had a great time eating at our favorite Mexican place and taking in a movie. (Iron Man 2, which wasn't as good as the first one, but was entertaining still.) Getting out together always reminds me of the time before we were nine; just the two of us enjoying life together. Don't get me wrong: I
love enjoying life as nine, but it's fun to remember the days when we were young and carefree. :)

On Saturday morning, I finished up the tea-party themed cookies. Since the memory of decorating Noah's cake was so painful fresh, I thought cookies sounded just my speed. I was so excited to find cute cookie cutters to use. The birthday girl was happy with the day!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Friday, May 14, 2010

Emotional Pornography

I'm stealing this link from Tim Challies' page, so you may have already seen it. Great article--it's hard to be attuned to the messages we receive because we receive so many--but it's a worthwhile discipline to develop.

The Earth is the Lord's and Everything In It

"I love the glades and dells, the hills and vales. My pleasure is, in the morning to startle the hare from her form, and in the evening, to talk with the countless stars."
"Can you not learn from nature? Every flower is waiting to teach you. 'Consider the lilies,' and learn from the roses. Not only may you go to the ant, but every living thing offers itself for your instruction. There is a voice in every gale, and a lesson in every grain of dust it bears. Sermons glisten in the morning on every blade of grass, by you as the sere leaves fall from the trees. A forest is a library, a cornfield is a volume of philosophy, the rock is a history, and the river at its base is a poem. Go thou, who hast thine eyes opened, and find lessons of wisdom everywhere, in heaven above, in the earth beneath, and in the waters under the earth."
Charles Spurgeon

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Summer School

I know this picture has nothing to do with summer school, but it was so pretty that I couldn't resist!

Those words send chills down the spine of just about everybody, home schooled, public, or 40-somethings. When I think "summer school", I picture being imprisoned in a darkish classroom watching other kids frolicking outside on their bikes and heading to the pool.

However, as a homeschooling Mom now heading into my ninth year, I think summer school--or, the term I prefer: year-round school--is the way to go. I've found that continuing on with our basics: math, spelling, grammar, history, and science--is really beneficial to our family for several reasons.

First of all, I have the entire year to fit in our required (in Kansas) 180 school days, and we are able to take breaks throughout the year as needed. This helps my stress level tremendously! I know that we have time to do what we need to, in spite of days taken off due to company, a new baby, or just because we all need a break.

Secondly, I find that we're able to skip or skim much of the review work that's included in the beginning of new texts, like math and grammar. The kids haven't had such a long break that they've forgotten much of what they covered the previous spring.

Another reason I enjoy this option is that it reinforces our philosophy that
learning happens every day. Learning isn't something to be compartmentalized in our lives, contained only in the months of August through May and happening while seated at a desk. This is one of my favorite things about homeschooling! We talk about life, politics, spiritual things. We have the chance to 'do life together'. Kevin and I have opportunities to teach our children wisdom and worldview as we "go out and come in".

And, despite the fact that we "do school in the summer", we make plenty of time for fun! Our school days are a bit less structured. We go to the pool, play with friends, enjoy the sunshine. We've also made a habit of taking off the month of June. Often this month is filled with VBS, vacation, and swimming lessons, so it's a good time to completely put away the books for a short break. We all are always refreshed and ready to get back to it after those four weeks.

Summer's also a great time to work on a few 'extras', like summer reading lists and beginning typing with my early elementary kids. We're also going to work through the online biographies available here. If you don't subscribe to God's World News for your children, consider making the investment. These magazines are great worldview/current events teachers for kids. Mine love them and beg to read ahead past their assigned pages.

And here's a free resource I've found that we're going to try: There's a daily current events story sent to your inbox. If it looks interesting you can print it out along with discussion questions and vocabulary words.

What are your thoughts on school in the summer? What works well for your family?

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Making the Lord's Day Special II

I posted a little while ago about the why our family desires to Keep the Lord's Day. Here's part one of practical ways to make the Lord's Day special. Hope you find some encouragement from these creative ideas from my friend Barb.
  • Play 'Who Am I?', giving clues about a Bible character.
  • Help others: visit the elderly, lonely, or sick. Take cookies along that your children helped to make, or a homemade card.
  • Write letters or emails to relatives or friends. Or, pick a missionary family to correspond with on a regular basis.
  • Sing worship songs or Psalms together as a family.
  • Take walks together and enjoy God's creation.
  • If your church has no evening service, occasionally visit another area congregation to be an encouragement to them and to broaden your child's concept of your denomination.
  • Use Play Mobile or Lego figures to act out Bible stories or set up scenes from the stories.
  • For younger children, keep a special box of toys and puzzles to be brought out only on the Lord's Day. This helps them get the concept of the day being different and special.
  • Have a family discussion time. Talk about concerns or issues that have come up at home and how to resolve them. Or, just have an open-ended discussion about current issues or theological questions.
  • Learn the books of the Bible. You can use cereal boxes for the "books" and write the names of the books on each one. Then, learn to put them in order and divide them by groups (law, minor prophets, etc.).
  • One Mom Barb interviewed only let her children have candy on the Lord's Day--something they looked forward to all week!
  • Keep a shelf or part of a shelf for "Lord's Day books" to be read only on that day. When reading aloud to your children, read only a set number of chapters a week so that they have to wait-and eagerly anticipate- what happens next.
  • Rest. For older kids, quiet reading in bed or outside on a blanket in the sunshine is a great way to rest.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

What's Goin' On Lately....

First guitar lesson with my Dad

Sweet flower for me from my Joe...picked out of one of the pots on the front porch. But who can care with a face like that?

Providing entertainment at PTC. (That's Potty Training Central, for those of you not in the know.)

We love painting with real watercolors!

Loving on that little guy is a favorite pastime.

Mmmm. I love it when my man uses power tools. :)

Also, plugging along with school....enjoying the lush green of spring....admiring the baby birds in the nest on our back fence...wrapping up another fun year with our homeschool co-op...enjoying spring recitals and performances....trying to make it through a favorite novel....gearing up for three successive kids' birthdays...

....staying tired but trying to keep my eyes on the Lord! Hope you are enjoying these busy days of May!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Who Needs a Conscience With Kids Around?

There was a big bag of candy I'd used for rewards in my co-op class between the front seats in our van this afternoon. Noah was sitting next to me--he's so excited that he weighs enough now--and I thought I was being discreet about how much I was eating. He seemed to be looking out the window a lot, and I'd grab another few pieces when his head was turned.

Man, you sure like Tootsie Rolls. I thought you were on a diet.

Me: Well...I didn't eat a very big lunch. I'm really hungry.

Noah, with a smile: Excuses.