Friday, August 27, 2010

Celebrating Life

The calendar says I'm another year older. I, with all my physical aches and pains, can laughingly concur. These days, I would just as soon not recognize these yearly reminders of time passing by, but my children find delight in celebrating birthdays. No matter whose. No matter how many candles. Just simple joy in celebrating life.

And that's as it should be. Not celebrating me, specifically, but life in general. My heavenly Father has seen fit to bless me with 41 years in this realm of life. It hasn't always been an easy life; there have been many bumps along the way. But those have been the times when He has taught me much, when He has drawn me closer to Him.

He has blessed me so much in my 41 years, saving me from my wretched sin and granting me the opportunity to tell of His wonderful grace! He has given me the desires of my heart. As a little girl, I would dream of some day being a wife and mommy, and a teacher. I now hold all three of those titles close to my heart. I don't teach in the school system and I don't get paid (in money, that is), but my job (and the pay) is far better, imo!

If He chooses to give me another 41 years here, it won't be long enough to tell of His marvelous grace, His wonderful mercies, His enduring faithfulness to me. If I have one year left or 41 years, I want to spend it singing His praises, blessing His holy name. I don't want to get caught up in the negativism that I see all around me, the gloom and doom of the current economic situation, the ungodliness that has found its way from the large cities to the small towns, the less-than-perfect church with its less-than-perfect leaders. Life is too short to live that way.

If there's one thing (well, two things) that I want my children to say about me one day when I've gone on to be with Jesus, it's that momma loved Jesus, and she celebrated life. Because God values all life, and I think He wants us to celebrate it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Our Wild Weekend

We traveled to north Georgia Friday night for our school's football game (our daughter is a cheerleader). We were told to pack an overnight bag, that we might have to spend the night because there was a big possibility that the game would have to be stopped due to thunderstorms. We had dd pack a bag, but I didn't pack anything for the rest of the family. Our plans were to return home the same night due to the fact that we had our second IMPACT class coming up the following day.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dragonflies & Butterflies

This morning we incorporated another of Miss Mason's techniques into our school day. Not exactly a nature walk, but time spent outdoors, nonetheless.

We watched the birds flying in and out of our backyard... got out the binoculars to see them close-up in the trees. We especially like watching the hummingbirds come to our feeder!

This was an earlier shot (and not very clear).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

First Week of School

I spent a great deal of time expounding on Kate's first week of school in my last post (and we are definitely seeing improvement btw). Now it's time to consider Will's first week. Of course, he's still at home with me. I mentioned in a previous post that we are using Heart of Dakota curriculum this year. When browsing through the well laid out lesson plans, my first thought was, "Geez, what alot to cover! We'll still be doing school when Kate gets home!" Plus I have some other books and materials that I want to incorporate into our day!

However, I  have been pleasantly surprised at how quickly we finish each day. HOD incorporates Charlotte Mason's methods of educating, so we cover lots of subjects but we don't spend lots of time on any one subject. This keeps the day flowing smoothly and it helps us tremendously as my Will has a short attention span. In the past he has been frustrated to tears because I have forced him to stay focused on one thing in particular for long periods of time. This year -- major improvement!

Another new approach for us this year is in the area of math. We are using Teaching Textbooks and so far, so good. Will seems to be doing well with it. He pops the cd-rom into the computer, clicks on the day's lesson and the lecture begins. He solves a few practice problems covering the new concept, then moves onto the problem set which covers the newly learned concept, as well as previously learned concepts.  The first few lessons were basically review, and most of it is mental math. He enjoys doing math on the computer, but I'm not sure how it works when he moves beyond the mental math and actually needs to work out a problem on paper. I suppose we'll see when we get there.


I am a little sad that I have only one child in our homeschool now. To me, it is such a joy to teach (and learn along with) my children. I count it a privilege that God has called me to homeschool them, and I am so grateful that He has allowed me to homeschool each of them. Am I a perfect teacher? No! I make mistakes, just like anybody else. But... God gave my children to me. I know them better than anyone else. God has given me the insight to know what motivates them to learn, how to encourage them, how to help them reach their full potential. Is this path easy? Of course not! Anything worth doing is not easy. But is it worth it? Oh yes! I wouldn't trade these years that He has allowed me to be at home, investing in their lives for all the "stuff" that we could have provided them had we been a two-income family.

Thank you Jesus for the privilege of being a wife and mommy, a stay-at-home mom, a home-schooling mom.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Just Another Typical Week... Not!

Okay, so I knew things would be a little different, but I really didn't expect it to be THIS dramatic. We started school last week, on August 9th. Dd was excited about "going" to school this year. It was fun shopping for school clothes (as they have a dress code at school). It was exciting buying and gathering all those school supplies (albeit somewhat draining on the pocketbook). But... as Monday morning rolled around, she suddenly didn't seem so excited, or sure about this "going" to school business.

Dh and I tried to encourage her, spoke kind words of affirmation to her, assured her that these jittery feelings are a normal response when encountering something new, different. Still, she didn't seem convinced, but she wanted to try.

She did okay until mid-morning when, in her geography class, the teacher called on her to read aloud. She told me that it all went downhill from there. She tried to describe to me what she felt... "My voice was trembling, I could barely speak above a whisper, my heart was pounding and I couldn't hear anything except a loud roaring sound in my ears. I thought I was about to faint."

I've been there and done that! I have a real fear of speaking and/or reading aloud in front of others. In the days preceeding the start of school, I tried to discuss some of the things that she could expect that would be different from what she is used to, having been home-schooled.

She told me that in her Algebra class, the teacher covered the material so quickly she couldn't keep up. In the rest of her classes, she was so afraid that she would be called on to read aloud again. Needless to say, she spent much time in the bathroom, she couldn't eat her lunch and her stomach was upset and in pain all day. All in all, a miserable first day of school for my dd.

Now, for most people, I am sure this is just a normal part of life; but for dd, this is not good. She is the nervous, worrying sort (in a serious way)... so much so that it has caused a great deal of irritation in her stomach lining, which causes much pain for her. She has been on medication for this for about a year now, but after this day we felt that another visit to the doctor was in order.

He changed some of her medicines, suggested that we try altering (again) her diet, and try eliminating some of the sources of stress so that her stomach can heal itself. Dh made a trip to the school to speak to the teachers, and all are more than happy to help in whatever way they can (specifically not having her read aloud or speak in front of the class, for now). The algebra teacher already stays after school to help students, so dd makes a quick stop by her class if she had trouble with the lesson that day.

We are doing what we can to help her, most importantly we are lifting her up in prayer to our heavenly Father, and pointing her to Him in her time of need. I don't really understand why a child so young can spend so much time worrying about all the what-ifs in life, and stressing over even the smallest of concerns. She has been this way as long as I can remember. Yes, she knows what God says in His Word about worrying. We have talked to her about it; she has read it for herself. Applying what she knows... that's a different story.

We let her know that the door will always be open to come back to home-schooling. She has chosen to stay and finish the first semester, and then we will re-evaluate and decide what is best. She said that each day of last week seemed a little better than the first. She did comment that it doesn't take all day to finish the school work and the school day doesn't really need to be that long (lol). And that if she didn't love to participate in sports so much, coming back home would be a no-brainer!

She is enjoying cheerleading tremendously, and I think that is helping alot. On Friday, we went to the school to watch the pep rally. She seemed a little nervous to me, but she did great! And I think that being on the cheer squad and being in front of the crowd will help her to overcome her shyness and hopefully the nervousness. I have a feeling that when this semester comes to an end, she is going to be well-adjusted to life at school.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Adoption Update (Pt. 2)

Today was the first of the three Saturday classes to complete our 20-hour IMPACT training. We began promptly at 9:30 am and finished up just before 4:00 pm with a 30-minute lunch break and two 5-minute breaks. Wow! That makes for a long day indeed!

There are nine couples (including us) and three singles going through this class together. There was ALOT of information to cover... so much to learn. We did some role-playing activities and had some question and answer sessions amidst the power point lectures.

We received more paperwork to fill out (I can't believe how much paperwork is involved), a checklist of documents we must provide, questionnaires to be completed by dh and me, as well as by our three children. We (the adults in our home) must be fingerprinted, have a criminal background check (we actually have already had the background check; that was a requirement to participate in this class), and undergo drug testing. All five of us must undergo medical evaluations and make sure all immunizations are current.

We have scheduled the first home visit and evaluation (to take place upon completion of this class).  We are well underway!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Last Days of Summer

Although it is still HOT down here in south Georgia, our summer break has officially come to an end. I thought I'd share what we've been up to these last couple of weeks of our summer...

My dh's sister and her two daughters came to visit and stayed with us for a few days the last week in July. We absolutely LOVE them and we had so much fun!

Here they are with 2 of my kiddos in the pool

Kate & Will, with their Aunt Debbie

on our evening walk down our dirt road... the doggies
always join us!

We made one last day trip to the islands off the coast of Georgia. I say "last" but I really hope we can make a trip back in the fall, when the weather cools off... maybe to bike ride around the island. I have some friends who spent a few days there recently and they really enjoyed biking there.

on the beach at St. Simons Island

supper at Spanky's Seafood Restaurant after a day of touring the islands

I feel like the older I get, the faster these seasons of life seem to whirl by. It seems as if we hardly had a summer break at all :) But we made lots of memories, and that's so important. Especially now that we are going in different directions this fall (one off to college, one off to school, and one still at home with me).

...Thanking God for these days with my family.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Legacy: A Multi-Generational Promise

A friend shared this video with me and I thought it too good not to share. I was tremendously blessed while watching it. It is a little long, but so worth the time it takes to watch it.

Friday, August 6, 2010

New Beginnings

We attended our daughter's high school orientation last night. She is no longer my little home-schooled girl. She's entering 9th grade at Appling Christian Academy. It is a very small Christian school...she has about 15 kids in her grade. She is on the cheer squad this fall. School starts Monday, August 9th.

This is her schedule:

1st period - PE
2nd period - Bible
3rd period - English
4th period - Biology
5th period - Algebra 1
6th period - Geography (first semester)
                   Speech (second semester)
7th period - Fine Arts/Study Hall/Sports Practice
Chapel is weekly on Friday mornings

She is excited, and nervous. Me? oldest son has moved about a 1 1/2 hour drive away, my daughter is starting 9th grade (at school, not at home)... I'm a basket case. Just kidding! Seriously... I'm full of different emotions right now. Of course I'm saddened at the change, but at the same time I'm excited for them.

My son feels like he is "really at college" now that he's at a big university. Whatever that means, lol. I'm just grateful that God gave us a year at a smaller college close to home to prepare us for this.

This is his schedule for Fall Semester:

Elementary German I
US History II
Intro to Information Technology
American Government I
Creative Writing III

He'll have 15 credit hours, and Lord willing, a job to round out his days.

My daughter is nervous about starting school. That sounds funny, doesn't it? Like we've never "started school." She met all her teachers last night and had lots of questions about how they "do" school -- at school. This will be a transition for her.

But on the other hand, she is excited. As I've mentioned before, God has given her a love for all things athletic, and He has gifted her in that area as well. She is quite a talented athlete. As we have no avenue for her to continue in sports if we continue to homeschool, this transition will open new doors for her. She loves all the sports and she will participate in all of them, cheerleading in the fall, basketball in the winter, and softball in the spring. She really loves basketball and softball and her dream is to play one of those sports at the college level one day!

And my youngest... this will definitely be a change for us! Only the two of us home all day. I am excited! I have more plans than I can ever complete with him, but I am looking forward to it. We'll be using Heart of Dakota for our main curriculum (lots of reading). I will mostly just use their history outline - we'll be taking a chronological journey from the 1500s to the 1970s through American history. We'll use their Bible study program and we'll learn the stories behind some of the greatest hymns using Hymns For a Kid's Heart - Vol. 1. We'll also continue in the Awana program (which focuses on scripture memorization) at church. 

For the language arts we'll use Learning Language Arts Through Literature, Spelling Power and Handwriting Without Tears. For math we'll use Teaching Textbooks 6. For science we'll use Apologia's Exploring Creation with Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day. I love how they present science from a creationist viewpoint. I love how they focus on learning through an immersion approach. I can't tell you how impressed I was when my (then) 3rd grader could tell people much more than they wanted to know about birds when we finished Zoology 1, and about marine life when we finished Zoology 2. I can't believe how much my children have learned (and retained) using this method! I'm very excited that Jeannie Fulbright has written journals that we can use with this book! (Ok, that's my plug for Apologia Science!)

Well, I sure do get excited when talking about what we'll be doing for school. I'm pumped and ready for Monday!

But, in the meantime... I've got to get off this computer and start going through what's left in my son's room, sorting, cleaning out, getting ready to paint. My husband is ready to convert it to his work-out/exercise room. I would like to leave it as it is for a little longer, I guess for sentimental momma feelings lol. But dh likes to get on with things. And he keeps reminding me that God gives them to us for a season, and now it's time to let go. And he's right. And I know that my heart will catch on and believe that soon :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Moving Day...Again

Our internet has been down for a few days (and I didn't have a meltdown!), and now that it's up and running again, I come back to my blog to find... well, I don't know exactly what happened to it. My background is just gone. I guess I'll have to tinker with it after while :)

I guess the main thing that's going on in my life right now is that I've had to go through that whole "son moving out experience" all over again. We've been moving bits and pieces of furniture into his apartment for a few days now. But today was THE day. He's all moved in and settled now. I took him grocery shopping today and showed him how to compare prices, helped him plan his meals. I walked him through the steps of "how to's", how to do laundry, how to wash dishes. These are all common household chores that I have taught each of my children through the years. He just hasn't had to do them over the last few years (since he graduated to the more manly outside chores), so he wasn't sure if he would remember.

So now I'm back at home, and he's at his new home. That just doesn't sound right. I've only cried a little. So far. I get sad and a bit teary-eyed when I walk past his bedroom.  I just don't like this part of child-rearing. Yes, I know that we raise them to leave, but still... I don't like it.