Sunday, August 23, 2009

Letting Go...

Letting go... saying goodbye... whatever you want to call it, it is hard. You tell yourself it's time, that he's ready, you're ready...but are you really? I know he is, but am I? My momma heart says no.

I can't write what I am feeling right now because as I sit here pondering it all, I feel that uncomfortable lump in my throat, and the words blur as my eyes fill up with tears for the thousandth time this weekend.

So, until I can adequately express my thoughts here, I will just leave you with some photos of moving day...
father and son, trying to get the wireless connection for their laptops
son and roommate, still working on the wireless connection
all settled in now

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A New School Year

We started school this week. So far, so good...

I always look forward to the new school year! I get excited about our new books, what we're going to cover for the year, etc, etc. The kids get excited about their new books...for a little while anyway (lol). The newness wears off quickly once we settle into our routine...getting up early again after being lazy for most of the summer seems to be hard for us. I always say I'm going to be more disciplined through the summer break -- stay on a schedule, not letting them sleep in so much, continuing with our reading, etc. -- that lasts for about a week! So it is usually a little difficult to get back into the swing of things for us.

But I have to say this week has gone relatively smooth...considering it is the last week that my oldest son will be here with us - tear, tear - and we have been somewhat busy getting last minute things ready for him. Tomorrow's the big orientation for him, letting go for me. But, I digress...

I was a bit concerned about what curriculum we would use this year. I had intended to use Heart of Dakota for both of my kids. A good friend of mine uses that with her kids and they absolutely love it! However, we had some 'slight budget restraints' this year...the truck needed a new tire, the van needed 4 new tires, among other things that needed to be replaced, college fees and amazingly overpriced college textbooks (which was a very large sum despite the fact that I bought them on for half the amount it would have cost in the college bookstore). Anyway...with all the other things clamoring for our money, I decided to just buy the bare necessities this year and use all the other stuff that I've purchased over the years and never got around to using.

I decided that both of my kids need a good dose of grammar study this year, so we are using Easy Grammar for both my 8th grader and my 5th grader. My daughter (8th grade) is using A Teaching Textbook's Pre-Algebra, Apologia's General Science, Sandi Queen's The Standard of Modesty Bible Study for Young Ladies, a writing unit and copywork passages from Learning Language Arts Through Literature, and a few biographies and some other classic works of literature to round out her language arts.

My son (5th grade) is using A Beka Books 5th Grade Arithmetic, Apologia's Zoology series for science, cursive handwriting practice and spelling lists from A Beka Books, and some of the books he will be reading this year are Christian Liberty Nature Readers and biographies of some great Americans like Noah Webster, Billy Sunday, and Ben Franklin.

We also spend time reading together each day. I read to them from the Bible each morning, as well as from books which have spiritual significance. For instance, right now we are reading a readaptation of John Bunyan's classic, Pilgrim's Progress. I also try to read biographies to them; we are reading Eric Liddell by Catherine Swift. For history, since I have SO many books about American history on my bookshelves, I decided we would spend this year delving into American history. Right now we are reading George Washington's World by Genevieve Foster.

The Lord is so good; He provides! I may not be using what I thought would be the best for them, but He knows what we need and He always provides. I am excited about the new school year and I can't wait to see what it holds for us!

some photos of Kate doing her first science experiment of the year...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Simple Things

I just finished reading a friend's post over at At His Feet.... She has posted some pictures of her girls in a sunflower field. Simple things...that's what she talks about. How right she is! It is amazing how much joy we can glean from the simple things in life if we will only take the time. So many times I feel like I am rushed or on the go too much to truly appreciate life's little treasures (provided by God, of course).

Lately though, God has been speaking to my heart about this. You know from my previous posts how my children and I have been trying to make a little sanctuary in our backyard to attract birds. We have truly had a delightful spring and summer from that little bit of effort we put forth. We sit outside on the patio or at the kitchen table and watch the birds come to our feeders and birdbath. We keep a basket with bird guides and binoculars handy and when we see a different bird, we pull out that field guide and learn all about the bird. What joy we have found in this simple little act!

Another "simple" act we enjoy is just sitting outside with the puppies. They are so playful, we all sit and laugh just watching their's hilarious...and so good for us as a family. Laughter is good bonds us together.

Another simple pleasure for me is a daily walk my husband and I take each evening down our dirt road. Sometimes the kids accompany us, sometimes it's just the two of us. And lately, the puppies have been tagging along. It's amazing how much joy I have received from just taking a walk! But really, it is more than a walk...the talks dh and I share...the flowers we see on the side of the road, the bugs we see (and try to identify, lol) scooting across our path, and lately the deer tracks that my husband stops and points out to me ("let me show you how to tell if it's a buck or a doe," he says). I don't know how much of our walk is truly exercise (lol), but I do know that it is definitely food for the soul.

God knows this, and He wants us to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life. It is His way of blessing us. I don't know about you, but I sure feel alot less stressed and alot more blessed when I use the eyes He gave me to enjoy the simple (yet amazing) beauty that is all around us.