"Thought breeds thought; children familiar with great thoughts take as naturally to thinking for themselves as the well-nourished body takes to growing; and we must bear in mind that growth, physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, is the sole end of education." ~ Charlotte Mason

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up 28: Math with Fred and a Preschool Activity Bag

The picture above is my daughter doing some of her math work. We use Right Start for our math program. It's an amazing program. I love how visual and tactile it is. There is lots of manipulatives to help reinforce concepts, along with a heavy emphasis on how to use strategies to problem solve. There are some fantastic games that help math facts to stick way better then the typical flash cards. I think if I had learned math this way, I would have been able to learn these concepts in a solid way. Right Start discourages finger counting and features a special abacus grouped into fives and tens. This helps the child to visualize numbers and sequences in groups.

My son finds math challenging. He has a difficult time seeing math in every day life and has poor recall skills for math as well. Right Start has helped him a lot but I find he needs a break sometimes. We will take a break from typical seat work to do the Right Start Games or some books that are on math but are just good reads and do not feel intimidating. We will use books like Usborne's Math Dictionary or Sir Cumference Series, to give his brain a little bit of rest. He's still doing math but it's not intensive.

We were very excited this week about what we did. I had heard of these really neat math books called: Life of Fred Math that helps children put math into the real world. When I initially heard about them they only had the higher levels but a good friend of mine told me last week that they finally had the elementary level. I was very excited because I thought he would enjoy them! She had the first one and let me burrow it. It's proven to be a refreshing change from seat work and what not. We're working through Life of Fred: Apples. It's pretty basic but that's okay, it gave him some confidence because he was able to do them so quickly. The stories are funny and illustrates how much math is an every day part of Fred's life. We laughed and had fun and I saw some things click for him. :) It was really neat. I'll be getting a couple more books in the series and we will do them for breaks now and again along with our Right Start program.

Here's my little one doing level A of the Right Start Math Program. She thinks it's fantastic doing math like the other two. :)
I like to have my little one work on some Preschool Activity Bags while the other two are doing some seat work. The activity bag she is doing below is a matching one. She is matching the square colours that form a pattern on the card. The cards have cloured dots the same colour as the squares. She loves this one. Please see my post regarding The Preschool Activity Bag Swap if you are interested in how I did these bags.

It was a great week! We had lots of fun with school work, a five hour long play date with great friends, my daughter won 2nd place for crazy hat night at her girls club and we celebrated my son's 9th birthday! I can't believe he is 9, my little man is growing up. :)v

Please join in the fun and post your own weekly wrap up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschooers!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

Book Sharing Monday: Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day?

We're working our way through this delightful book this week. What do people do all day while the kids do their own work and play? These are questions young children are curious about! My kids asked when they were small. When Daddy goes to work what does he do? This delightful book helps to answer those questions. The book covers anything from house/road building, to how the mail moves to where our bread come from.

It's a nice big book with beautiful illustrations. Big enough for the kids to be able to take it all in and enjoy the various phases of the jobs people do all day!

The writing provides just enough information without it being overwhelming. And the kids enjoy the colourful illustrations all quaintly drawn in the back drop of a small city.

Please join in the fun and post your own Book Sharing Monday selections at Canadian Home Learning!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Power of the Virtual Word

We live in such an interesting technological age. With the advance of computers has come a wide variety of ways for us to communicate: blogs, social networking (ie: FBing, twitter etc.), forums, web sites, texting - just to name a few. I have been anywhere from fascinated to disturbed by these modes of communication. Certainly, they are tools that can be used for good or bad. They can be fantastic ways to connect. I am truly amazed how I can connect with family members across continents and countries. Family, that I would otherwise, not have the time to keep up with. I love that I can take a couple of minutes to read a status and see some pictures, or take a couple of minutes to read through an encouraging blog post. All - good stuff. :)

Alternatively though, I have been disturbed by behaviour that seems to lose a much needed filter when it hits the keyboard and then the screen. It's easy to hide behind a computer screen; if you give yourself permission to let go of the power of words. I began to really ponder this phenomenon I was watching. Words are powerful, written or spoken. The written word is 'out there' for all to read, thus the the reason the phrase was coined: "The pen is mightier then the sword." What we write has power just as much as what we say. It can encourage and lift up or it can be destructive and fruitless. I once had a friend say to me about FB: "I guarantee that people would not say more than half of what they say on FB if they were sitting in that person's living room." There is a lot of truth in that statement. With the advance of all these written modes of communication comes great responsibility. I determined then to put strong limits on my own posting. For instance, I ask my myself when writing a status update: 'What is the motivation for this status update?"; or when I comment on someone's wall: "Will this comment breath life or death?, "Will my witness or testimony be furthered with this or destroyed?". And for me the big one: "Does this reflect my faith in Christ?".

Having said all this; as you can see, I do have a blog and I also have a FB account percisely because I do believe that words can bring life and encouragement. I think these modes of communication are wonderful tools. Along the way though, I have had to redefine how I use them to reflect how strongly I feel about the power of the virtual word. I think it's important to be a real and honest person both on and off line. There have been times when I have also failed miserably, both in the arena of virtual words and spoken words. I am reminded then how vital that words both written and spoken be as Proverbs 25:11 says "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Proverbs 18:21 also says: "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits." Achieving the balance of truth and grace is not easy both on line and off. The tongue is not easily controlled, which is why there is so much scripture in regards to it. But when it is controlled, tempered with mercy, honesty, truth, and respect it is like apples of gold in settings of silver. A friend of mine wrote something on a status the other day that I will quote in part: "Never underestimate the power of that email you sent someone today..................those notes you left to encourage a friend because you don't always know or fully understand where that may be meeting them at that particular time." We can never underestimate the effect our words have on those around us, both for the good and bad; in and off line.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Every Step to the Cross

Living a life of faith is challenging, is it not? My will is at war with my spirit. I find myself in the old age struggle Paul refers to in Romans 7, specifically, verse 19 "For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice." (emphasis mine). When the road proves difficult to walk or when I think I couldn't have failed any more then I have already, I am tempted to just 'rest' in my misery. And yet at the same time I am aware that I can not stay in that state because it is not rest, it is confusion that gives way to the conflicting emotions of fear, anger, disappointment and loneliness. All these emotions and feelings can lie and the longer I stay in that state the further away I walk from the truth. Our Pastor spoke once about this in a sermon and one of the points he made rings true in my spirit. When we are squeezed and pressed, our sinful nature is easy to embrace, as a result it is essential to decide in advance how we will respond to those times of trial. I need to have a plan in the moments of stress. I appreciated this train of thought because it is something I too, have determined to do. My biggest struggle is fear and allowing feelings to rule me instead of choosing the truth over the feeling. When I see that I am doing this, I reach for my plan of warfare: Bible verses, prayer, praise and worship. Sometimes it take a bit but if I dig deep the result is true rest and my spirit settles to be in tune with the Father's voice. It reminds me of that song by Casting Crowns: "But the voice of truth tells me a different story..." It's an active choice to accept the truth over the lies. Sometimes the battle of doing this takes more time then others but the key is to persevere with it. Isn't this what our Lord and Saviour did? Sometimes the steps are hard to take, they were for Jesus too. Each step He took closer to the cross bore the weight of the task He must accomplish. He knew forgiveness awaited there for us so He took the steps. He knew His plan, His mission, His task. God gave me such a clear picture of this today as I prayed through some matters. In my mind's eye I could picture the steps He took, how He took them for me, so I could experience freedom and forgiveness. The reality is that when I take my time to surrender it is because I've forgotten my task of choosing to embrace the truth. Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your soul, For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." How amazing is our Saviour that He promises this?! I want to share a passage of scripture that has come to me 4 times throughout the end of last year, once through a friend, at small group, church in my home town and church 5 hours away at my parents. I think of these verses often. Hebrews 6:17- 20 " Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability (def: Not subject or susceptible to change) of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which is is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul both sure and steadfast and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." I have kept these verses close because I understand how much I need the anchor of my soul; He is sure, never changes, has gone before me and will give me the rest I need. Again, an active choice, to listen to the truth over my own will and the lies the enemy would have us believe. In this way I am armed to face the reality of my situation, whether good or bad, I can count on Jesus to give me all that I need to deal with the joys, the triumphs, the difficulties, the failures. What a mighty God we serve.

Weekly Wrap Up 28: Sewing on a Sewing Machine

This past week was exciting for my daughter . :) She got her very own sewing machine. Isn't it nice?!

I think it's important to teach the traditions of sewing and skills like crochet and knitting. I taught her to crochet (& knit) a couple of years ago. She especially enjoys crochet and can crochet just about anything. So, this year we will be working on sewing. We've touched on sewing with all the kids by teaching them to hand sew. It's a good skill to have, the hand sewing helps them to learn the mechanics of sewing. Both my son and daughter know how to thread needles and hand stitch small projects.

I do a fair amount of sewing myself, mostly quilted items like: bags, coasters, mini quilts, baby quilts, mug rugs and full sized quilts. One day, as my daughter watched me do my own sewing, her interest was peaked and she asked me to teach her. I have a very good machine but it's difficult to share my machine when we have separate projects we're working on at the same time. So, I decided to purchase a machine for her own personal use! We were able to find one at a vacuum store up north where my parents live. There is an older gentlemen who loves to make sure sewing machines are in excellent working order. He was so helpful and he made sure we got the right machine for her. We purchased one for $79.00. It's a great machine and will do everything she needs it to, plus a little extra. It's older but in this case, a nice old sewing machine is better then new! It came with numerous attachments, a manual and a 3 month warranty. Right now, she is learning the basics of sewing on smaller projects. She has her own loaded sewing basket and some material. We got her a book called: My First Sewing Machine Book, which contains simple instructions for working her machine along with some basic projects for her to do (pillows, pencil case, purse). Her first project was a pair of quilted coasters for her Uncle and his girlfriend. She did a great job! She did them all on her own with some verbal instruction from me.

Here is the book and some of her material:

Her sewing basket came with some scissors, tape measure, pin cushion, thread, pin cushion, material pencil, pins (safety, and straight pins). It's a nice little box with a zipper for the top part and a zipper with a spacious bottom where she can store material or projects she's working on. We got this one on Amazon but when I went to find it again I couldn't locate this particular one (some of this she got for Christmas last year). There are lots of options though, see here for more selection. Also local fabric stores carry starter cases.
Here she is sewing one of her coasters:
The finished product! They look really good. :)

Please join in the fun and share your own Weekly Wrap Up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap Up!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Book Sharing Monday: Berenstain Bears' Big Book of Science and Nature

This book came with Sonlight's P4/5 Program. All of my children loved it. I started reading through it with Esther this past week and she likes it just as much. :) It's lay out is bright and colourful. The fact that the little Bears are found talking through the pages help little ones connect to the material. The facts are illustrated in such a way that they can be recalled easily.

Below are a couple of pages up close. It has a wealth of information and is perfect for pregrade learning.

Please join in the fun and share your own books selections at Canadian Home Learning!

Weekly Wrap Up 27: BEACH DAYS?!

For our March break we took a trip up north to see my parents. I went armed with snow suits and warm clothes, turns out I didn't need them!! We brought our school work and I did get some seat work and what not done but the temperatures soared to 22C so as you can imagine we all enjoyed the balmy weather!!! My parents live 20 minutes away from a local beach. It was actually warm enough that the kids put on swim suits, played in the sand and swam in the lake! The water was not that cold (surprisingly). It's been a mild winter so I imagine the water reflected that also. I could not believe how warm it was, it did not seem like winter or March at all. It was a fantastic week and spending lazy afternoons at the beach was just what the Doctor ordered. :)

Please join in the fun and post your own weekly wrap up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up 26: Lap Books & Preschool Activity Bags

There was some gorgeous weather the middle of this week! Temperatures reached 17C on Wednesday! :) I wrangled up all the kids and took them to the park with a bunch of other homeschooled kiddos. It was very windy but that didn't appear to bother my kids much as they were all over the park, enjoying the nice temperatures. We have missed summer: park days, swimming, biking, running, out door activities - everything summer. By all accounts it promises to be a warm spring and lovely summer. Wednesday was proof that nicer weather is on its way.

Science this week!
We have been working on the last half of our Apologia Astronomy Text with the lap books by

Exploring Creation with Astronomy Lessons 7-14 Lapbook by Knowledge Box Central Series

For the first 13 lessons we printed off the free Course Notebook pages Apologia offers. These pages were more then sufficient for our purposes! We had fun with the notebooks but also felt like we needed to switch things up a bit, thus the reason for the lap books! The lap books will take us to the end of the course material before we head off in to another unity study in science. They are proving to be a welcome change and addition to what we are doing with the last half of our school year for Science.

Below is both the children's lap books, we keep them in a single plastic file folder so they don't get damaged. (Yay! for Dollar Store items)

We begin our lesson by reading through the Astronomy Text and then finishing up with a section of the lapbook work. It usually involves some sketching and then the printing out of some of the information about the topic we just read. The lap book contains many colourful illustrations strategically placed out on file folders which have been folded into the middle. Once completed there will be four file folders stapled together to conclude their project on Astronomy! Below shows a closer view of number one of the four. :)

In the picture below Heather is sketching out the orbit of the comet, earth and the sun. Then she wrote information about how the comet's orbit works and how long it takes comets to orbit our sun (ie: Short and Long Period Comets). The kids were especially thrilled to find out that there is a meteor shower every year between August 9th and August 13th; we have our calendars marked for that date!

Preschool Activity Bags!

I have a little one that doesn't always want to do what the other two do, though she sits in on most everything! For my 5 year old I have a variety of teaching tools. The two pictures below feature 2 of the 25 activity bags that were created to be apart of her curriculum. About a year ago I ran a Preschool Activity Bag Swap, in which 20 ladies participated. We each made 20 of one activity and then got together to swap our activities, giving us a grand total of 20 bags to use as teaching tools at home! The activities are not only learning tools but they are engaging and fun, designed to hold a child's interest. I organized the swap and I would highly recommend it to anyone who would like various activities to do at home with their preschoolers. If you are interested in doing something like this, see Activities in a Bag for all the details and various books available for doing your own activity bags or for doing an activity bag swap! The books were inexpensive and well worth every moment spent to create them! The swap included 20 people and I made 5 more bags on my own to complete my curriculum. My daughter really enjoys these bags and will often get the activities out on her own outside of 'school'. I have also received lots of good feedback from the parents who participated in the swap. They and their children enjoyed the swap and activities.

The pictures below are example of 2 of the activities. The first one helps the child learn their alphabet. They match the letters with the master sheet, and then turn the cards over to reveal a two piece puzzle that depicts the sound of the letter they just matched. (ps: that is not a real mouse in the picture! lol)

The activity is a number match game. I say the number and she picks it out and matches it to the right one.

This post is linked back to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap Up! Please feel free to join in the fun and post your own Weekly Wrap Up via the linky under her Weekly Wrap Up post! I love reading what others are doing, lots of wonderful ideas out there! :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Book Sharing Monday: Miracles on Maple Hill & Why Do Tigers Have Stripes

Miracles on Maple Hill
We just finished a lengthy read aloud with the kids. It was a missions story: In Search of the Source. So now we are moving on to Miracles on Maple Hill (suggested reading level: grade 3 and up). We're in the home stretch of American History as a result we have been studying the First and Second World Wars. We do a fair amount of sketching and copy work for History (see here for our history sketches) but we also include read a louds in our history studies. It is difficult for children to grasp war and the effect it has had on those who fought in them. I wanted to read them a book that speaks to them about how people must heal from the experience of war. This book is about a father who returns home to his family after WWII. He is not the same from what he has seen. The story depicts the journey of how he and his family learn to heal from the after effects of war. Many miracles abound as the family spends time at their Grandma's house out in the country the year after the war. This book is a Newbery Award winner!
Why Do Tigers Have Stripes?

This little book is by Usborne Starting Point Science. It's a wonderful book that all my children have enjoyed reading. I've been reading it to my 4 year old this week. She asks me for it before I can even offer it! lol It's all about how and why animals survive in the wild, including how an animal uses disguises, signals and colours to blend in to their environment. She was fascinated with the various animals, from the ones she knew about to the ones she had never heard about before.

Here are a couple of pages to peek your interest. My kids read this book again and again! They loved to learn about how animals protect themselves, what habitat they live in, how they keep their young safe and the list goes on! My two eldest will still pull out this book to read on their own.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Book Sharing Monday: Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends & The Tall Book of Nursery Tales

We've been reading through the above book for a number of weeks now. After we are done our devotions we read some of this book. We take little bits at a time each day so the kids can practice it and think on it. The book is essentially written by 3 children, each of whom, talk about how important it is to develop good healthy relationships with your brothers and sisters that will stand the test of time and relational discord. It speaks to the issues of how relationships at home are handled helps to provide essential skills in dealing with people outside the home and within the community. What I am impressed about is how much the book focuses on how to talk to each other and not to allow room for bitterness and resentment to grow. It uses Biblical principles to draw out honest and forthright discussion about relationship and boundaries within the family unit. A very good read!


My 4 year old loves this book. The Tales are not long and are pleasant enough to give a child a tantalizing glimpse into the world of nursery tales. The book features 12 tales from Little Red Riding Hood to The Princess and the Pea. The shape of the book itself is just right for little hands to hold! The illustrations are gorgeous and the stories charming, ringing true to the original version. It is one of my daughters favorite books to read a loud. My 10 year old will read it to my 4 year old without hesitation and rather enjoys the stories as well. It is a timeless book that will occupy a space on our book shelf for years to come.

This post is linked back to Canadian Home Learning Book Sharing Monday! :) Please join in on the fun! Lots of great books to share!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Year in Review and Looking Ahead

At this time of year I begin to get ready for the next year school. I attend the Kitchener Waterloo Christian Home Educators Conference, so I begin to look forward to the coming year as I like to buy my curriculum at that time. Our school year doesn't follow the typical year that building school does. Essentially we do school all year round, with breaks sprinkled here and there that works for our family. For instance, we take the entire month of September off as we go away for that month to a cottage. :)

For the past year and half we have been working through American History/Geography, Science Apologia: Astronomy, and our regular Math and Language Arts programs. I chose to do American History first because I wanted the eldest two to be grouped together when doing History. I held off so they were both at a good age to remember their Country's history. We are definitely ready to get to Canadian History though! Heather told me the other day that she can't wait to do Canada's History, because all she knows is American History (she, of course, is happy to learn American History though, as she was born in the US). But she is waiting for Canadian History and Geography with great anticipation! So off to the races we go at the end of April! I'll break our next school year down in terms of curriculum and ideas:

- daily devotional (scripture reading)
- memory work
- prayer time

Language Arts:
Growing with Grammar - level 6
Copy work - a selection from her personal reader done in cursive
Wordly Wise - level 6 (once a week)
Sequential Spelling - book 2
Growing with Grammar - level 1
Copy Work - a selection from his personal reader done in printing
Spelling - taken from Sonlight's word lists
- ACE learn to read/print program
- Sonlight's P 4/5 Core Program - includes science, geography, art appreciation etc.

Heather, Graham & Esther:
Right Start

Heather and Graham:
Apologia Zoology 1 - Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day in conjunction with the lap books by

Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the 5th Day Lapbook Package (Lessons 1-14)

Canadian History and Geography:
Northwood Press - Canadian All Inclusive Bundle. It includes a whole host of books, read a louds, geography - 27 items Courage & Conquest: Canada: A People's History DVDs Set 1 and Set 2; 7 novels, 16 non-fiction books; 1 CA history Game. We're VERY excited to start on this.
We have been looking through Newspapers and Usborne News Paper Books so we can make our own Canadian Newspaper. This will help them reinforce what they are learning about their country.

Art Appreciation:
The Group of Seven ArtPak by Cyndy Regeling (Maple Tree Productions)

Music/Music Appreciation:
- piano lessons for the older two
- voice lessons for Heather
- listening to various composers
- The Story of the Orchestra
- Symphony field trips

L'Art De Dire

Extra Curricular:
- swimming lessons
- girls Club
- Judo
- ball hockey
- nature class at a Local Nature Reserve

Shakespeare Unit Study:
We'll study a play but I'm not sure which one yet. We'll use these two books to assist:
Tales from Shakespeare
Usborne Illustrated Stories from Shakespeare

I don't think I've missed anything! But if I have I'll come back and modify my post.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up 25 - History Sketching

We've been working through American History with a set of workbooks called: The Story of the USA - link. The workbooks have short chapters followed by a chapter review with questions. We read through the chapter and then talk about its content using the questions. I am not as concerned that they know exact dates for history. If they understand a time line of when the events happened that is more then sufficient in terms of being able to pinpoint when historical events occurred (for instance WWI began in 1914 and ended in 1918). What I am most concerned about is that they are able to clearly grasp and speak intelligently about the historical event(s) we study, that they are able to connect with the material. We use a fair amount of sketching with our history program. I find this is beneficial in helping them to connect with the information. For the first two workbooks we did a story board. They divided up a huge bristle board into 20 squares and sketched about each chapter in the squares. This time around I picked up a sketch pad at the Dollar Store so they could sketch through each chapter, using larger pieces of paper. I found a gem of a book while looking through a store on line. The books are called: Draw and Write Through History (see my above photo for the book we're using). They have several books that cover World History and American History. See here for the complete collection and details. The book contains the steps to drawing, along with some facts about that particular period in history and some copy work. The copy work is lengthy so they will write a couple sentences a day and finish the history lesson with the sketching. (the copy work will be part of the Language Arts in the morning). So for instance, they were learning about WWI this week. We did the chapter in the The Story of the USA workbook, along with some narration about it, some copy work, followed by the sketches. The World Wars are difficult to digest, and when we look at the sketches they don't necessarily show the reality of how awful those wars were. My son likes to draw and anything with tanks is even more cool. But I also wanted him to understand that war isn't just about tanks and what a soldier looks like. For this reason I chose a read aloud that would reflect the reality of how terrible war is and how it affects people on profound levels; often for the rest of their lives. We talked about how men who had fought in those wars came home different. I found a really good read-aloud to demonstrate this reality, called Miracles on Maple Hill. It's a Newberry Award Winner (suggested reading level: grades 3-5) and it is about a father who came home after the Second World War. He struggled with what he saw and did. The story depicts the healing process that him and his family went through. See here for more information on that book.

Graham's completed picture of a WWI soldier:

Heather is sketching out the beginning of her picture of the WWI soldier, she colours it in later on.
They did the copy work on regular lined paper and I taped them into their sketch books.

This post is linked back to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap Up

A Reminder of the Discpline of Gratitude

I was looking through the seminars for the Annual Homeschool Conference I attend in March and was reminded of what I posted last year around this time. I had enjoyed Ann Voskamp's seminar the most and have been working on gratitude this year. As I move forward into a new school year I wanted to remind myself of why it is so important to embrace this discipline. This concept, the disciple of gratitude, of course, is meant for anyone not just the homeschooled. It just happened that Ann was speaking to a group of Homes Schoolers. :)

Here is my original post about the seminar:

The second seminar I sat through was Ann Voskamp's. It was a late start as the power point wasn't working at first and she answered questions at the beginning. As she answered the questions I could feel the Holy Spirit moving, preparing hearts for the message Ann would eventually give. This is difficult to describe, if you were not there. But as she spoke, she talked about all the endless deeds we as mothers do, the sweat and tears, the moments of doubt, fear and failure as you seek to rear your children in the context of a homeschooled education. As she eloquently spoke the list in short sequences she ended with "I know - I do too." A reality that connected her audience to her and her audience to one another. How do we then find joy in the journey of Homeschooling? Her answer was startling simplistic but the truth of it, was like an arrow piercing to the deepest part of my soul. Many of us cried and felt the touch of our Saviour as Ann's message reached our hearts. The answer: gratitude - found in each of the moments of our life, in the midst of the chaos. The ability, the discipline to find gratitude in all the feelings that consume us in the moment, to teach our children that in those moments we can choose God's grace over the feelings that draw us away from Him. Ann said it so well: "It's impossible to feel gratitude and negative feelings at the same time." As I learn this discipline of gratitude, not only do I embrace this for myself but it is the gift I offer my children. They see that my relationship with the Lord, my creator, is real, as He works on me to the inner most parts of my soul. It is that gift I give them, my legacy of love, hope and grace that will remain when I pass from this world. So today I begin the journey of gratitude, as I embrace it for myself, I pray that in the most complex moments of life, in the dark times where failure looms and I feel the walls closing in - I will choose gratitude and thanksgiving. As one of my children challenge me, with a bad attitude or fight, I will say: "Thank you Lord, for this child(ren) - your gift to me, to teach and love, instantly I am gentled, reminded of His love and grace for me, one of His children. And finally the verses Ann reminded us of at her seminar Philippians 4:8 "Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praise worthy -- meditate on these things."