Category Archives: Bible

Happy 13th Day of School!

Yes, it is already Day #13 here.  We start early in order to take the month of December off…it makes for a much more enjoyable holiday season!

It is already our 6th year of homeschooling too.  Wow!  I can hardly believe we’ve been doing it for six years!

There have definately been “ups” and “downs” along the way, however some of the bumps are smoothing out as I figure out what works best for us and adapt.

We’ve tried various curriculum and even virtual schooling, but finally settled on these for this year:

Bible – “Who is God?  And Can I Really Know Him?”, Volume 1 of the “What We Believe” series written by John Hay and David Webb.  I’ve tried various short bible studies and devotional books with the boys.  We’ve also taken time to learn the books of the bible and just read bible stories, however the main goal in doing any of this is that they would grasp the concept of having a personal relationship with the Lord.  My prayer is that they would not only have “head knowledge”, but mostly “heart knowledge” of the Lord, His grace-filled ways, and the purpose for their lives.  Learning to see the world through a biblical viewpoint, rather than a worldly view, is something I was not taught at a young age.  Hopefully doing this for my boys will save them many self-inflicted trials and point them toward service to others and to God.

Lesson #1 and #2 have been very engaging so far.  The boys seem to grasp what the book is teaching very well.  It is written in plain, everyday language and includes activities and stories to which they can relate.  On top of that, they keep a notebook for recording vocabulary words, insightful opinions and expressions about different topics, and memorize scripture each week.  It was very encouraging once this past week to see my youngest have his first “A-Ha!” moment about satan and God.  I am praying that God would use the material in this book and in our schooling to reach his heart in such a way that I have not been able to explain.  So far, so good!

Art –  We’ll be doing various artsy type things.  One book I found at a thrift store is “Exploring Textures in Watercolor” by Joye Moon.  I will be painting right alongside the boys as we work our way through this book…..sort of a “perk” for me to be learning too, instead of just teaching!

Texas History – We are using “The Story of Texas” by Harcourt Brace along with “Discover Texas”, a CD based history program.  Also included in the plan are adding two smaller unit studies on Cowboys and Indians.  Each of the boys will be making a list of all the places we study in Texas.  Towards the end of the school year, they will be able to choose one place on the list to visit in person.  “Hands-on” makes the best learning!

This is a class easily combined for both grade levels.  I think public schoolers in Texas usually do it in 4th grade, so in comparison, one of mine will be a year early and the other a year later than their peers.  It saves me aLOT of time to be able to combine a few subjects.  I just adjust the assignments and activities as needed for each grade level.

Language Arts – Grammar          “Easy Grammar” by Easy Grammar Systems, Scottsdale, Arizona   We tested this last year and found it to truly be “easy”, yet still challenging.  I love the way it teaches prepositions first so that the other parts of speech are more easily recognizable.  Once you mark out the prepositional phrases first, it is easy to spot the subject and verb.  Also, although both boys are doing separate grade levels in this curriculum, the chapters are arranged similarly so I can usually teach both at the same time.

Language Arts – Writing    This subject, I understand, is a common sore spot in every homeschooler’s plan.  Even public school students and parents struggle with writing, mainly because they don’t do enough of it!  (my opinion)  Kids, especially elementary age kids, just. don’t. want. to. write!  We’ve had many struggles with it.  Although I love to write, trying to teach my boys to do it has been pretty difficult.  Til this year, what we’ve tried to do did not have organization or depth.  Now, we are trying a new curriculum shared by my friend that seems to be just what we needed.  It will teach writing concepts at a self-paced/mastery plan and the same concepts will be used to build upon all the way through high school.  Consistency in a long term plan seems the way to go in order for writing skills to be developed.  It is the “Institute of Excellence in Writing” program.

Language Arts – Spelling     Last year, we used a spelling program that had lots of activities and colorful pages.  It also seemed a bit expensive when paired with other homeschooling expenses we had.  This year, I found a year’s list of grade appropriate spelling words online and decided to use it for free 🙂  The word list came from K12Reader.com.  I simply printed the year’s lists of words, placed them in a folder, and then taped daily instructions on the front for spelling activities.  Each day, the boys grab their folder, complete that day’s exercises, and by the end of the week are prepared for the graded test.  Daily activities include reading the words to me, circling any unfamiliar words, writing the words, writing sentences with the words, using a dictionary to write definitions of words I preselect for vocabulary, and then taking a practice test.  So far, this has been a no-nonsense, no cost path to greater spelling!  Yay for free!!

Language Arts – Reading      I use LOTS of different materials to encourage reading success.  One area of concentration this year is comprehension.  Using an old Scott, Foresman reader, “Wheels and Rockets”, the boys are required to read certain stories and then answer the comprehension questions in complete sentences.  We are working on changing a question into a complete statement and then answering the question.  For example:  “Why did the chicken cross the road?”  Answer:  “The chicken crossed the road because. it needed to get to the other side.”  Rather than simply write “to get to the other side”, the boys are equating their answers to complete thoughts and proper speech.  I also frequently require them to record the page number of where they found the answer by each question.  This helps force them to look back at the story for correct information.  Sometimes they do well, other times they confuse parts of the story, but we always talk through the answers and why something else might have been a better choice.

We do lots of silent reading as well.  They are required to read silently for a certain amount of time.  Sometimes I assign the material to read.  Sometimes they get to choose. Sometimes they choose at the library.  Sometimes I let them choose from a preselected group of books I put together before the school year started.  I try to have a variety of reading levels, books and magazines for them…anything to keep their interest!

Language Arts – Handwriting    I know, I know! This is a “lost Art” for many now a days.  Call me “old school” if you want, but I still believe there is value in legible handwriting!  Chances are that neither of my boys will be doctors, so I just assume that their boss will want to be able to read what they are writing, despite the Keyboard Age.  To challenge them more, we also work on cursive writing!  Doing cursive has actually made writing more exciting for them.  They take greater pride in their assignments when forming the nicely slanted letters.  This year, I’m not using any particular curriculum…..just notebook paper, starting with the ABC’s and moving towards mastery in connecting letters and words.

Science – “Exploring Creation with Zoology 2:  Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day” by Jeannie K. Fulbright   After years of using her curriculum, I cannot imagine going to anything different!  Thankfully, she has written even High School level science curriculum that we can look forward to.  So far, we’ve completed Astronomy, Anatomy, and Zoology 1: Flying Creatures.  She also sells spiral bound notebooks that accompany the study and I highly recommend them.  They are interesting, creative, and provide the perfect place to record the course’s observations and for use in note taking.

Math – Teaching Textbooks   This is a computerized math program that we started last year.  It is a little behind the advanced curriculum we were using previously, however, it’s animated and fun for the boys to learn.  It teaches, reinforces, quizzes, and challenges.  It. even. GRADES!  (Woo hoooooo!  Oh how I loathe grading assignments, lol!)  Anyway, I told the boys they could work at their pace (at least completing one grade level per year), but also can work ahead in order to stay challenged.  We actually skipped a grade level for the youngest because the placement test he took showed he had already mastered 3rd grade concepts before this 3rd grade year had started.  They love it!  I love it!  It’s a “win-win” math program that will take them well through any high school math requirements!

Music – This year we will be participating in a co-op music class. It will be taught by a very dear friend whom we have known for many years.  (Hiiiiiiiiii Kariiiiiiiiii!)  I’m so excited and know that outside the public school setting, she will be free to encourage the boys to use their talents for the Lord!  This is going to be GREAT 🙂

Study Skills – One of the things I have learned in homeschooling is that kids do not naturally know how to study!  Discovering this has changed alot in our daily plan.  Now, we learn about strategies for memorizing information.  We engage in conversation to spark the sharing of ideas and higher level thinking.  They use “Brain Pop”, an online program for learning new things and practicing test taking as well as multiple choice answering, etc.   We do crosswords, map studies, dictionary work, and even play thought provoking games like chess and scrabble.  I just usually try to have some type of study skill building activity each week to encourage them toward self-controlled, well-prepared, study habits.

Physical Education – Although somewhat lacking in our plan right now, I know we will be active.  We do sports like soccer and basketball.  We also do Wii fit and other indoor activities.  Probably not what we SHOULD be doing, but I will continue to look for opportunities for physical activity and act upon them.  Now that we are also working on the farm, they should get lots of exercise! (and me 🙂

Other Co-op classes/activities – We will be meeting weekly with a dear group of friends who all homeschool.  At last count, there were at least 40 kids participating, probably more.  This will allow us the opportunity for more socialization as well as participating in group type classes.  Co-op subjects we will be participating in are:  Astronomy, Music, Citizenship, and US States.

We are also joining the local 4-H club this year.  Archery will be our main project but we look forward to learning more about raising animals as well as participating in other projects and community service events.

Hmmmmm…..have I covered it all?  It sounds like alot.  Ok, actually it is, but thus is the challenge in homeschooling:  attempting to expose our kids to the best education in order for them to be well-rounded, responsible individuals.  I also believe homeschooling affords the greater opportunity to share Jesus with them in every area of life as well.  If they can see Jesus in a math problem, then they are more likely to include Him in their thoughts and actions as they grow up.  They will have a biblical worldview, as our bible curriculum calls it, and know the need and blessing for serving others.

Each year, God seems to equip me with what we will need to make schooling successful, and for that, I am so thankful!  To God be the glory, from me and for my sons who will hopefully one day surrender their all to Him.

  Just out of bed on the first day of school and he writes this message on the board.

  Now, if I could just convince them that starting back to school doesn’t HAVE to be bad, lol!

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Filed under Bible, Bible Study, Blessings, Children, Family, Friends, God, Grace, Home School, Homeschool, homeschooling, Jesus, Job, Joy, Life, Morals, Obedience, Parenting, Prayer, Priorities

Book Chapter and Verse

This is our read through the bible blog page:  http://www.bookchapterandverse.wordpress.com . Several of us have been attempting to do this since the beginning of the year. We started with 13 and are down to only a few, just as all New Year’s resolutions seem to go. Did you know that statistics show all New Year’s Resolutions are broken by week #4?  Well, the good news is that reading the bible is always a good idea.  Whether it be started on January 1st, June 1st or December 1st, we can all benefit from learning more of God’s word!

Today, we are playing a little memory game. Feel free to join in and participate! Answers will be posted later this evening.

P.S. We’d love to have any of you join the group. Begin on any reading plan at any time! Just read the “Welcome” tab, then “Shake Hands” and join in. We’d love to have you 🙂

Book, Chapter & Verse

Don’t you remember your high school teacher saying those words just as you entered the room?! 

“Take everything off your desk.  You will only need this paper and a pen because today is QUIZ DAY!!” 

(At that point is when we all started to panic, lol!)  You then turn over the paper and begin to read the questions: 

During which book did Moses build the ark? 

On what day did the serpent eat the apple? 

Why did Abram’s wife turn to salt?

Hmmmm……something’s a little wrong here, don’t you think?!

We’ve been reading for 8 weeks now and though lately we’ve endured long descriptive details about the tabernacle and sacrifices, there have been many other details that may be getting lost!  I thought it would be fun to do a little review and see what we could remember.

The following statements have been scrambled.  If you choose to accept this…

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Filed under Bible, Bible Study, Commitment, Friends, God, Obedience, Priorities, Time, Wisdom, Worship

Life’s Work – Is it Working? (Part One)

We have just completed a 12-week study series at church on the family.  Priorities, Discipline, Time Together, Memories, Family Traditions, Family Devotional, Family Vacations, Family Relationships, The Church Family, Worshipping Together, Commitment, and Lasting Values were all topics studied and discussed during this time. 

It. never. fails. Each time we spend time studying one thing, it’s THAT thing that the enemy tries to use against us!  It is has been a ROLLERCOASTER during this family study series at our house!

I believe we have been greatly challenged in each one of these areas during the last twelve weeks.  It has been PAINFULLY REHABILITATING, but isn’t that how God works sometimes?

Just as I enter a whole new phase of life, when two of my four children are now grown,  my thoughts begin to try and find rest that we have done what we could to raise our daughters in a manner pleasing to God.  Teaching them the ways of God, practicing, although not to perfection, the ways of godly parents and giving them the skills, abilities, and opportunities for a successful future. 

We’ve poured ourselves into their lives, disciplining when it was necessary, teaching when they were teachable, loving purposefully and intentionally, equipping them to care for themselves, and offering continuing support and guidance for as long as they want it.

Still, there were good intentions that are unfulfilled. 

Thinking back, I could list many of our failures and shortcomings in the parenting field.  The list would probably be a mile long and then some.   Still, we have tried to make the right decisions and follow what God would want for our family.

Now, as a mother of two grown children, I sit and wonder, “Was it enough?”

Was it enough to wish for them happiness, yet find out that they will experience many heartaches?

Was it enough to point them to the scriptures to handle those difficult times?

Will they really practice what we have taught them for so many years?

Did we model what we were teaching to them enough, so that they will naturally look to God throughout their adult life?

“Do they truly GET IT, God?  When will Your love and protection and guidance be THE thing they MOST crave and look for?  Do I rest on parenting from the past, believing that when they are “old” they will not depart from it?  Or do I continue to admonish and point and guide them toward You still?  If they are adults now, when do I “let go”, as many in the world would say?  How can I cut strings with them when I love them so greatly?”

Sooooooooo many questions!  Whew!  I get teary eyed just articulating my heart right now!

This. Is. A. Tough. Time.

No longer can I force them to say “I’m Sorry” when they hurt each other’s feelings.  No longer can I use chore charts and stickers to teach them the value of responsibility.  No longer can I ground them to their room, or take away their favorite toy. 

Is my job as a mother done?  Is my life’s work over with them?  Are they fruitful, godly daughters striving to build their new life in a way pleasing to Him?

There is just so much to consider.

One thing I have learned for sure is stated on Buddy’s blog,

“The more I learn, the less I know.”

The things I would have bet the girls would be doing or not doing, is many times opposite of my thoughts.  Life lessons I thought were most important at their young age, now seem different in our new perspective.

…and my perspective is changing DAILY.  Little things that may not mean much to them, or even to my husband for that matter, send me into a tailspin of concern.  On the grander scale, some of these things may not be life altering, but to me at this moment in time, panic begins to rise when I think things aren’t right.

It just “should be” the way I envisioned it! (lol):  Grown children, who consider the family as the strongest bond, second to God, who compares to no other; love, forgiveness, productivity and empathy reigning in our household at all times due to the bond of a mature family; collective ministry to others through our family, sharing in like-mindedness and common interests; fun and happiness in abundance; the peace of knowing that our parenting job is completed well.

But then, evaluating all these things remains a matter of perspective.

God didn’t expect families to be perfect.  All our great intentions and dreams and desires as parents were many times missed opportunities.  Children don’t always love and respect the way God intended, either. 

Still…the family is the most important basic social unit God created. 

Within the family, we learn to model the ways of the world or the ways of God.  Every day, our actions as parents, whether purposeful or not, extend to the growth and development of our children. 

When they are grown, we look back and realize how many times we did things WRONG, and no matter how many times we try to convince ourselves otherwise, there’s still the question, “Did I do enough?”

Over the next few posts, I intend to articulate some thoughts on parenting.  Some will be based on our personal experiences.  Some will be based on other new and old concepts/ideas surfacing within the Christian realm.

Prayerfully, God will guide these posts and the discussions from it to strengthen us all in our parenting endeavors, …

…because no longer can I say “Two Down, two to go”.  What I believe I am learning is that my job is still not done.

 

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He is Glorious!

When you need a reminder that God still cares…

When you need to remember all that He has done for you…

When you find yourself wondering just who’s in control of this crazy world…

Watch this: 

“For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.”  Hebrews 3:4

“You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands.  They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed.  But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.”  Hebrews 1:10-12

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Not Me! Monday (On Wednesday)

 

 

Following Leslie’s lead, this is “Not Me! Monday” — (the Wednesday version).

I’ve NOT done this before, so here goes:

I have NOT just gone through a really crazy few days.  Certainly NOT brought on by what “Dr. Google” says might be PMDD, or NOT EVEN for the fact that I’m now officially over 40, but could instead be the release of mega amounts of hormones trying to get those 40+ year old eggs to ovulate once a month.   Which, by the way, the eggs are saying “NOT!” to the hormones, and it is NOT causing a ridiculous response making me NOT the sweet, pleasant wife and mother I am NOT usually, but rather the “Monster Mommy” version that did NOT attack EACH AND EVERY MEMBER OF MY FAMILY this week!

I did NOT dwell on feelings of worthlessness, despair, and would NEVER think that EACH AND EVERY MEMBER OF MY FAMILY does not love me anymore!

I did NOT spend 3 hours at the computer searching to find out what was going on with me.

I did NOT relish the thought of NOT paying a $35 copay to consult with a real doctor while comparing my symptoms to millions of other internet users.

And I did NOT come up with my own diagnosis.

This post (journaling during times of distress) is NOT a means of dealing with my newfound disorder as recommended by Dr. Google.

I will NOT consider starting calcium supplements as also recommended by Dr. Google.

Worst of all, during this time, I did NOT seek the scriptures for comfort 😦

Until today, I did NOT apologize to the family.  (I’m NOT VERY, VERY SORRY)

I can’t believe that I did NOT make my husband wonder why he ever married me.

I certainly hope that my family will NOT continue loving me, NOT forgive my horrible reaction, and NOT try to understand that I am vulnerable between the 8th and 11th of every month. 

Most likely, I will NOT EVER be this way again!?

I also did NOT join a weightloss support group this week while sitting here and NOT eating a chocolate pop-tart and hot chocolate for breakfast!

Chocolate does NOT make me feel better ….  Ok, well that was stretching it a bit…

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Catch Up.

We’re playing “catch up” again around here.  Here’s what’s going on….

  1. My daughter had a birthday…she’s now 21, and I’m just — old.
  2. My four year old defines worship as “when you share your toys, but not your germs” 🙂
  3. The six year old is still in homeschool meltdown stage.  Thanks to all our wonderful friends who gave me ideas to handle this situation.  I’ll keep you posted.
  4. I’ve been trying to be more frugal (although we ate out too much this past week and weekend).  I’m clipping some coupons and taking advantage of store specials and advertisements.  It’s taking some work, but getting easier and faster.  I’m saving a bundle!  —even started a “Couponairres Club” where some friends and I meet to swap coupons, fellowship, share frugal ideas, and help each other cut back on expenses.  We’ve all agreed that this could be a ministry to others by inviting more to join.  At one store today, I spent $8.07 out of pocket, received $51.36 in products, and was given $14.00 back.  That’s a net gain of $57.29!  Not bad for a day’s savings, huh?!!
  5. Postings about my personal study of Acts is slowing only because we are also studying it at Cornerstone.  My executive decision today is to jump ahead to the 9th chapter this week so that I can study before lifegroup meets and the sermon is given.  I really like reading, listening to what the Holy Spirit says, studying commentaries and then posting my thoughts before lifegroup meets.  It enables me to compare my thoughts and resolve about the chapter to what is shared later.   Maybe I should just go by the plan Cornerstone is following instead of chapter by chapter?  Still thinking this through…
  6. Had an opportunity on Thursday to take the boys to a pipe organ and vocal recital.  Contrary to some who thought it was weird we were actually excited about doing this, the kids had a great time!  We took a few minutes to do a brief overview of how a pipe organ works, and looking up pictures of different organs.  Before the recital, they even received a more detailed explanation and some “hands on” as they were allowed to sit and play at the organ.  Vocalists sung in English, German, French and Latin.  Their favorite song…..”I Talk To The Trees” by Frederick Loewe from the musical Paint Your Wagon.  The boys thought it especially funny that someone would want to talk to trees!!  lol  (So much for cultural experiences!)
  7. Took another special day on Friday to pick fresh strawberries.  The weather was perfect, and strawberries were plentiful.  We picked for  a while, stopped to eat several pounds of them on site (?!), and then picked some more before we left.  The boys had a great time and it was a good opportunity for them to experience farm life.  We also enjoyed the beautiful wildflowers growing along the roadside as well as their first up-close view of a dam.  The water was flowing out of two places on the dam and ducks and other birds were very near as we drove by. 
  8. My computer was infected by a trojan horse virus last week.  Special thanks to Mike and Buddy for looking at it.  Thankfully, we were able to reload the files it took out and did not lose anything.  Needless to say, our virus protection is updated and fully in force now, and I’m spending some time this week copying family photos and files onto disks just in case this were to ever happen again.
  9. Have I told you that God is just good?  He is so faithful and wonderful to continue enveloping us in love and care and provision.  Every day — every. day.  He shows me in a new way that I am not alone.  Even in my “down” times, He gently lifts me up and cradles my fears and concerns.  I am reminded even at this moment to give Him praise and honor in my day.  Prayerfully, you are experiencing that today too 🙂 
  10. Today’s praise:  I just overheard the six year old telling the four year old that he wasn’t going to disobey today.  He was going to be good and “obey Mom”! (Yes!  Hallelujah!!)  Guess I had better go take advantage of the moment……..

…Hi-ho, Hi-ho, it’s off to school we go!

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Acts, Chapter 4.

Persecution.  Have you faced any?  Do you think persecution still exists? 

Acts, chapter four, shows Peter and John as they face the courts over the healing of the lame man in chapter three.  Actually, it wasn’t the healing that got them in trouble with the court, it was the credit given to Jesus.  The court did not want them to speak “in the name of Jesus”.  They were even released after an overnight stay in jail, but were told to not speak in that name again.

Little did the court know what would happen….

Enter the Holy Spirit again! 

Encouraging, uplifting, pointing the way to Christ and all He is, and giving boldness…boldness that quickly multiplied among the believers and jump started a whole new movement for the Lord.

These are the basic details of chapter four.  I don’t feel like I can expound on them in any better way than to explain the details of yesterday’s gathering at Cornerstone.

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