Sunday, March 28, 2010


We all lose sight of our goals at times, we all need to refocus and re-adjust. I have been putting together a binder the past few days. A place to keep my brain essentially ;0). There are sections in my binder like homeschool,bills and home. I looked and looked for some clip art to “grace” the cover and couldn't find anything I liked. After having no success with the clip art I turned to quotes and finally found what I was looking for.

The home is under siege.So many families are being destroyed…If anyone can change the dismal situation into which we are sliding, it is you. Rise up, oh women of Zion, rise up to the great challenge which faces you. My message to you,my challenge to you, my prayer is that you will rededicate yourselves to the strengthening of your homes.”  President Gordon B. Hinckley

Sometimes life really gets in the way. I lose focus on what is truly of importance. Right now in this season of life my focus needs to be inside my home with my family, not outside. I do not need a life “outside of” my kids, I do not need a career to be “fulfilled”.Those are just lies the world has told mothers to undermine their efforts and skew there vision. What faces us and our families today is a “dismal  situation” and we truly are confronting a “great challenge”. But not one of us is alone. We can find strength from our  husbands,our families,fellow Christian women and of course our Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ. They do not want us to fail and we are promised in the scriptures to receive the strength and comfort we need if we will seek it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

When do I give praise?

I have been mostly offline the past week enjoying my husbands leave time. We are past half way now and he will be heading back to Iraq soon.Looking back over this amazingly wonderful week and looking ahead to the sad prospect of him leaving has put a lot on my mind.

I know that I am quick to praise the Lord when times are good.When I am feeling blessed.Our family has been doing a lot of praising this week =0) But how quick will I be to praise God when I am not feeling so blessed?

We all have trials in our lives. Some small and some big. The death of a loved one, a wayward child,loss of a job,a deployment,home school burnout the list could go on and on. During these times do we praise the Lord as we should? I know I am fast to ask for help when I am facing a trial but not always fast to give praise and thanks.

In Psalms we are told : “Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord.Praise ye the Lord.”  One thing I love about God is that he does not mince words. His scriptures and the words of the prophets are clear. We should continually praise the Lord. For the good and the bad in our lives.

This is my goal for the next week. My husband will be going back to Iraq. I will fear for his life every second of every day. My children will cry and need comfort because they miss their daddy and I will be alone.But I will praise God. I will praise Him because He has given me all that I have and because through this trial we are strengthened as a family and because we are learning to lean on God and look to Him for our strength.

My prayer for you all is that you will be able to praise God in ALL things. That you will find joy in the sweet blessings of life and that you will find strength and comfort in the Lord during your trials.s41081cb125687_4_0

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Your homeschooling? Well you’ll put them back in school eventually, right?

I still remember telling our family that we were going to homeschool. Several of the reactions surprised me.Some of the family that I thought would be unsupportive was wonderful and understanding.Others had negative comments that truly shocked me! I wanted to share one of the funnier reactions I got.

Self to family member(FM): Yep Isaiah is getting to be school aged now. We plan on keeping him home and homeschooling him.

FM: You plan on doing what??

Self: Homeschool, you know teaching him at home.

FM:Oh..hhmm well you’ll send him to school once he is older right?

Self: Well actually we would like to homeschool clear through high school.

FM: High home? Is that even legal???

Hahaha that always seems so funny to me =0) This particular family member really thought I had lost my mind I think! Especially the question about it being legal! Hahaha I love it! Seriously though we have been very fortunate to have a lot of family support. I have talked to other homeschoolers who not only have to struggle with their own worries and insecurities in the early days of homeschooling but also some serious disapproval from their families.  The reason I like blogging so much is that we all can find support and encouragement from like minded people =0) I know I have found so much  of both from the blogs I have found and I hope that I can share some of that with others who find my blog.

I know that I said I wouldn't be blogging whilst my hubby is here but I found a spare moment so I wanted to share what was on my mind =0) To end the post here is a picture of my darling love and us all back together!

100_5148 do you see the look of pure bliss on my face?100_5130

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A little break

I am sitting here tonight a bundle of nervous energy. I really should be in bed but the sleep isn't coming. My hubby who has been deployed for the past seven months will be home tomorrow =0)

I just wanted to put a quick post up here to let everyone know I’ll probably be off the computer for the next two weeks while my hubby is here. I will have tons to post about after his leave ends though! I hope the next few weeks are as blissful for all of you as they will be for me! =0)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The plan for our family school next year

How do you like my new term,family school?LoL! It just seems right to me when I say it. School, family,life it all sort of goes together for us!AnyWho,I have been in the process of planning our next year of family school. I knew that a lot of changes were coming to our school. I am pretty good with change. Being an Army wife kinda gets you used to that! Life for us changes A LOT! So I wasn't really worried or scared about the changes. I just felt a very strong need to pin down “the plan”.

Let me start by telling you  about some of those changes we will be having. First off and the one I knew was coming ahead of time is that my second son with be officially starting school this next year =0) Its an exciting exciting time for him and for me!

Another change was in our math curriculum. We have been using Saxon math since my oldest started school. He does well with it and picks things up fairly easily. The thing that  we are having an issue with is how fast saxon goes. You can be teaching 5 new concepts in two weeks.Then reviewing all the old stuff every lesson. The lessons are LONG! Like half an hour or more  if you do all the review. I knew what I wanted to change about math in our house.But I wasn't sure what curriculum would fit.

Science has always been unit studies for our family. I have never used a curriculum or anything like that. I am all about earth science and can put together a unit study for that no problem! My son however is showing a strong interest in, ok let me just say it, an OBSESSION with everything electronic and robotic. This is an area I have NO knowledge in! So I knew that we would be finding a new approach for science as well!

The other change thats come along is that  I have been learning about and am going to be implementing Charlotte Masons philosophys into our schooling.

So after researching,reviewing,praying and planning we have finally come up with “The plan”!

The new Charlotte Mason things we will be implementing are Artist and composer studies. With the whole family. Those will be kept fairly simple with music and books from the library as well as attempting the styles and art mediums used by the artist we are currently studying.

History will be starting a “family”  book of centuries and  starting a chronological study of history.If you are unfamiliar with Charlotte Mason or the concept of a book of centuries you can read about both HERE I had originally planned to study the basics of government next year. After some thought and discussion with the kids we all decided that going chronologically would be best. We will be using Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the world Volume 1(Ancient Times). I really like the story approach that Susan uses in her book. If you’d like to see her full series check them out HERE.

After looking at SEVERAL math curriculums I finally decided to go with Math-U-See. I’m happy with  the short lessons. I like that this curriculum works for mastery of a concept before moving on instead of introducing 5 concepts and expecting you to work on all five at once! I also LOVE that it comes with DVD’s for the teacher and student to watch for each lesson. I look forward to diving in to the primer level with Justin(5) and alpha with Isaiah(8).

I’ve found two wonderful things for science this year. One to use as a family and one specifically for Isaiah to use independently. The first is Noeo science :physics level 1. It sounds like a great science program that is very Charlotte Mason friendly. Here is what they have to say about their program:

“Noeo Homeschool Science is variety-filled, with a structure that is best described as a balance between the classical method and the Charlotte Mason approach.   We emphasize narration and summarization, vocabulary development, observation, and the scientific method.  We do not promote rote memorization or the worksheet and test methodology, as we think that
this approach is less valuable for long-term retention.”

I found another program that I knew would be perfect for Isaiah and decided it would be worth the cost to get especially for him.It is the Lego WeDo robotics kit.This is what Lego has to say about their product:

“Students will get their first introduction to robotics with the LEGO® Education WeDo™ Robotics Construction Set and Software Combo. They have the ability to build LEGO models with working motors and sensors with the WeDo Construction Set and learn how to program the models, use software media to acquire information, and use feedback to adjust a programming system output with the easy-to-use, drag-and-drop software interface.”

This is 100% Isaiah and 100% out of my realm of things! LoL!He will love it though I know because all he has talked about for months is learning how to build “Real working” robots! Buying two science programs this year, both of which are a bit pricey was at first a concern. But after lots of discussion with hubby and prayer we both came to the same conclusion. If we give Isaiah the tools to follow his interests he will learn SO much!When ever I prayed about it I just get this  feeling that he will learn  amazing amounts if we will just  give him what he needs to follow his interests.That is so exciting to me and totally worth the price tag.

For reading,language and writing we keep it simple. We read lots of great books.We will be using oral narration as a tool this year as well as a little (very little) written narration beginning for our oldest =0)

For what I call “religious studies” we don't buy anything at all. We simply read scriptures daily, discuss them, memorize verses with special meaning to our family and sing hymns together on a daily basis.

This is our plan so far for next year. I don’t think I could emphasized enough  that whenever we are planning and scheduling and looking at what to do in our family school we always start with prayer, pray clear through the process and end with prayer. God is the leader of our family and we try to find out what He has for  us and its truly amazing to see Him leading and directing us as we seek out his will for our family.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Charlotte knew what she was talking about!

Charlotte Mason that is!! Today the kids and I were able to get out for an impromptu nature study! In other words it was so nice out we decided to go for a walk! LoL Its 54 degrees out today, sunny and just beautiful!

As I observed my kids I realized that Charlotte sure got this idea right! I enjoyed so much hearing the thoughts and idea’s the kids shared with me while we walked. One of the first things out of Isaiahs(8) mouth was “I love God SO much!” I kinda laughed and  said “Yeah me too, but why do you say that?” His reply “Because He made all of this and its beautiful!” Hannah(2) discover the ducks today and how they swam in the water. She kept saying “quack, quack. Duck say quack!”

It was really fun to see how different each of my kids is. Isaiah(8) is the slower, methodical type. He would walk around watching everything, walking a little ways ahead of me but always coming back to tell me what he discovered. Justin(5) he’s a whole different sorta guy! He is NOT a trail guy at all! He ventured off the trail for 95% of the time running down to see the ducks and  through what little snow was left along the trail. I was very pleased with myself that although my first instinct was to call him back, I didn't. I waited and I watched and although Justin ran ahead most of the time he never once went what I felt was too far.He reined himself in. Hannah(2) was in the middle today. She was somewhat tentative but as she watched Justin venture out she slowly followed. Always staying close to me but going just a bit ahead or a little off the trail =0)

Its amazing how much we can learn about nature and our kids on a nature walk =0)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Feeling Blessed

I am feeling so very blessed today. I am having a particularly good day and I am just so thankful for it. The weather has been getting nicer and nicer here. Spring really is on the way! I’ve been talking over and re-evaluating homeschool plans with my sister (who also homeschools) and its such a blessing to have her to talk to and to get her insight on things.

Today a friend told me that her daughter who is in Preschool has been telling her lately that her teacher knows everything about her and everything about everything..My friend told her daughter  “No your teacher doesn't know everything about you. Mommy knows you best” . Her little preschooler then proceeds to tell her “No mommy my teacher knows best!” How sad. How truly, truly sad. I love that through homeschooling I still have my childrens hearts. Their family is the center of their world. I think that is the way God intended our lives to be. How can we lead our childrens hearts to Him if we don't have their hearts to begin with!

I’m also really thankful for the gospel in my life. I sit and think about what my life could be like if I didn't have a personal relationship with God.If I didn't know what I know. How bleak and how hopeless this life would seem if I didn't know that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and wants what is best for me. If I didnt know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and that  He atoned for my sins so that I could be forgiven and return again to live in Heaven.I can not imagine getting through this life without that knowledge!

I hope everyone else is feeling blessed today too!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Courting Vs. Dating

I know that it may be a bit early to think about courting and dating and how I want to handle this as a mother. My oldest is only eight after all! But as my son is being baptized this month certain things have been on my mind.

In my church we believe eight to be an age of accountability. In other words we believe at eight a child can understand right from wrong and become accountable for there actions. Knowing this I want to do all that I can to help my kids be prepared to make decisions in there life.

I made some  pretty serious mistakes in my late teens regarding dating,boys and purity.  I am so thankful that I was able to find my way to the Lord and have been forgiven for my past mistakes through the grace of my Savior Jesus Christ. Because of those mistakes courting,dating and purity are on my mind when I think of my children getting older.

I am not really sure how to explain how I see the difference between courting and dating. Its mostly a difference in mindset I think. Dating is for fun and hanging out. Courting is getting to know someone and looking at them as a potential spouse. I have a friend that I love very very much. She is a very good illustration of how our mindset really can effect our choice in spouse and our future. She married for physical love, passion and fun. At first that worked out just fine. Until real life settled in. He wanted no children at all. She wanted 7 or 8. She wanted to stay home and homeschool her kids.He wanted his wife to work. Because of there mind set when they were dating they ended up having a spouse with completely different goals.They were two very different people going to two totally different places.

I want to teach my kids to first and foremost work on developing in themselves good qualities that would be desirable in a spouse. For my sons that would be things like self reliance,perseverance,being able to provide for a family by  having some set of marketable skills.For my daughters  thinks like homemaking skills, money management and budgeting skills. Then when they  are prepared to be a good spouse themselves to begin socializing with other young people looking for those with the qualities of a good spouse.

I don’t think that courting in this way  will make their life or marriage perfect. Every life has trials.Every road has its bumps. I do believe that it will help them to start  with a stronger footing.

Weekly wrap up: Winding down and getting wound up!

AAHH the end of another week =0) Can I get a hallelujah!? Hehehe! Its been a good week here but a long week! We had doctors appointments and scouts  meetings as usual. One of the highlights of the week was the first meeting of a new book club we are participating in! We had lots of fun hanging out and getting to know some other homeschoolers and seeing how well all the kids interacted with each other.

We started our last unit for my sons 2nd grade portfolio review. A health unit learning about our bodies.We read about the creation in the scriptures and talked about our skeletal system. We made a fun craft that helped us learn about the different types of bone tissue and the boys thought that was really cool!

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I must admit “getting through” our work this week has been a bit hard. Signs of spring are starting to show and we have been day dreaming about warm days spent out in the sun. We are also getting all wound up for daddys visit next week! We are officially down to single digits here people!! It has been seven LONG months and we.. ok I am going crazy waiting for next week to get here and bring me my dear husband! You can click on over to Kris’ blog HERE  and see how lots of other homeschoolers have spent there week!I hope everyone has had a wonderful week!

To conference or not to conference

Yes that's right. Conference season is approaching. Some of us love it, some of us hate it and some of us just don’t know what to think!

Well I happen to LOVE homeschool conferences! They are a great place to check out new products and get inspired by other homeschoolers. After attending several conferences I have two bits of advice for you! Doing these two things  helps me to be uplifted by the end of the conference instead of being overwhelmed and drained!

First: Go with a plan! You do NOT want to walk into an exhibitors hall with hundreds of people trying to sell you there stuff without a plan! Do your research ahead of time.Have an idea of the curriculums and products you really want to check out. Without a plan you can quickly get overwhelmed and might miss out on some really wonderful stuff.You might also come home with tons of fabulous new stuff and none of the essentials you were really needing!

Secondly: For goodness sakes set a budget and bring CASH!! There are so many wonderful homeschool  products out there and it would be SO easy to just keep spending and spending! So do yourself and your wallet a favor and leave the debit card at home!

I hope this helps for any of you who have yet to attend your first conference!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Educating Ourselves

When ever we are talking about homeschooling with non-homeschoolers we usually give them the rundown of what we feel are the benefits of homeschooling. One thing that I don’t think I have ever mentioned  or even really thought much about until recently is the fact that WE learn so much =0)

I went to public school. I got decent grades and had a decent time. BUT I didn’t retain  much of what I learned and I view my public education more as a hindrance than a help. Homeschooling my kids has given me what I was missing in my own education. I LOVE to learn! I have a passion for learning! I love to read. I love to share what I’m learning and MOST of my friends, ok all my NON homeschooling friends think I’m a total nerd =0) and I think its great!

This passion for learning has come from several different things I think. One is that I want to provide my kids with the best education I can. I can’t do that if I’m not learning and growing and sharing with them. I also am so insipred by you other homeschool parents out there! Homeschoolers are just the coolest people!! I think a good education is contagious. I cant help but see my kids learning and enjoying themselves and want to learn and enjoy too.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A “typical” Day

I really enjoy reading about what life is like for other families. How does homeschooler X handle there toddler while trying to teach there older ones math lesson, how Does Mrs. Y keep the house clean, Etc. So I thought today I would post a typical day. Now I use the word typical loosely of course. Every day is different, no two days are the same. Here was our “typical Tuesday”

Today I did NOT get up at 5:30 and excersise which is a goal I have set for myself. The early morning has always been rough for me! So I woke up around 7:30 to my eight year old saying “hey Mom I am going to turn on a show,ok?” And YES I did let him! I happen to have one early bird in my house and I dont mind a show first thing in the morning. As I roll over to go back to sleep I hear the coo’s of my baby Alyssa. I roll back over to face the crib and tell her good morning. Her grins are instant and start my day off much better than the stinking alarm would have at 5:30! Once Alyssa and I head down the stair the other two Justin(5) and Hannah(2) come down the stairs.

Today Hannah and I both had an appointment in the morning. So we all had breakfast and I got all dressed and presentable while the kids watched a show. After I was  dressed and ready I thought about starting a bit of school work..thought about it but didnt actually do it! LoL! My book was calling to me and so for the hour before we had to leave the kiddos played while I read. Then we all headed to Aunt Ti-ti’s house. The boys and the baby stayed there to play with their five cousins while Hannah and I went to our appointment. Nothing exciting there. I did find out that my iron is STILL low…I guess I really should start taking those iron pills the doc prescribed =0)

All the kids got a special treat today. Grandma bought Mcdonalds on her lunch hour and brought it to Aunt Ti-ti’s house! Bless Grandma! Mom didnt have to cook lunch *happy momma dance*. After lunch the kids and I headed home and the second we walked in the door daddy was messaging us on the computer. For those who may not know my DH is deployed currently and so we talk on the computer most days. We spent the next 1/2 hour chatting with Daddy about all the goings on of the week.Hannah told daddy all about seeing the doctor and mommys “oww”. She thought the fact that I had to get my finger pricked was just terrible =0) Once we got off the computer with Dad it was quiet time. In our house EVERYONE age 2 to 18 has a mandatory hour in there room.They can play quietly on there bed with a toy, read a book or color a picture. They may NOT come out and they may NOT harass momma during this time =0) I use this time differently depending on the day. I may read,nap,chat on the phone, plan the weeks lessons, write a blog post or nap myself. All in all a great time of the day!

Today Miss Hannah fell asleep in quiet time so when the hour was up the boys came down stairs and we started our school work for the day. First is what I call religious studies. We sing the hymn we are working on as a family and practice the scripture verses we are memorizing. As well as pick up where we left off on our scripture reading the day before. After that Alyssa(3months) was ready for a bottle so Isaiah hopped on the computer to do his daily grammar lesson and Justin sat with me and chatted. After our baby break I introduced our new science unit “our body”. We read in Genesis about Gods creation of man. We colored pictures of ourselves and  talked about how humans are one of the most complex organisms on the Earth and how that shows us that God loves us. He put so much thought and love in to the designing of us and that is truly an amazing thing.Giving the boys a brief overview of what we would be covering brought us around to the most interesting topic of Poop.Yes I said poop. They are boys after all!

Soon after this Hannah got up and dinner needed made. The kiddos helped make dinner we had some really yummy soup!We have spent the  rest of our evening vegging out, playing  and enjoying each others company in general.We had a few brotherly spats today and an instance or two of two year old tantruming but all in all it was a good day. At this moment Alyssa is asleep in her crib and the “olders” are all preparing to head the same way =0)

Weekly Weigh In

This is a much better weigh in than last week =0) Although I still am struggling with my eating I did achieve my goal. I got off the three pounds I had gained and am happily back to 165.

I think this is exactly where I got “stuck” the last time I was losing weight, after the last baby. I know that I would be healthier/more comfortable/happier at 155. For some reason though it is REALLY hard for me to get there!

I have a new game plan though. I have found that this time around on Weight Watchers I have simply been going for the “No-Brainer” method. I eat the same exact thing for breakfast lunch and dinner every single day.After a few days of that I get sick of it and binge. So my goal for this week is to put in the extra time and effort to find some new recipes. I hope this will help me in the food area a bit =0)

I hope everyone has a great week working on being healthier!!