"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

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up: Focus on Blending/New Book List

Reading with the highlighter
Wow!  This week has been full of activity from school work to running/biking and even a birthday party!  We really had an amazing week. :) 

I've been concentrating a lot on blending with Graham, using the clear/green reading highlighter.  I have been finding that has worked well with him, as he is not tracking ahead anymore.  I was given a copy of The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading.  I have found it to be very complete in terms of blending and letter pairing.  We did cover blending but I am thinking it could be that developmentally he wasn't ready for the blending earlier so we're revisiting it.  I am pleased to report that he is making significant strides. :)  YAY!

We finished a couple of read a louds this week.  Including The Bridge by Jeri Massi.  The kids loved this book.  They literally begged me to read it to them.  It was a great story, complete with knights, castles, a princess, escape, courage, self sacrifice and of course a bridge! :)

We are doing a book club starting in July with a few local homeschoolers.  It's not a huge group, just nice and comfortable until we can see how this will all work out.  We'll be meeting once a month to discuss the books.  There is an a Senior and Junior Group.  I'll be running the Junior Group and a good friend of mine will run the older one.  We've picked out the books for the next several months.  We used Educating the Wholehearted Child to help us pick out the selection of books we decided on.  In case you are interested, here are the selections:

1. Jim Elliot (Christian Heroes Then and Now) by Janet and Geoff Benge
2. The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth Spear
3. Much Ado about Nothing by William Shakespeare
4. The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
5. Jason's Gold by Will Hobbs
6. Peanut Butter Friends in a Chop Suey World by Deb Brammer & Grace Kim
7. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
8. Scientists of Faith by Dan Graves
9. The Sliver Chair by C.S. Lewis

We are pretty happy with the selections as they represent various genre's including:  historical fiction, fiction, science, missionary stories, Non-fiction, and Shakespeare (we're hoping to take in a production of Much Ado About Nothing playing in our area).

Heather and I have kept to our running schedule (From couch to 5K), only changing the time of day we run.  We have been up bright and early (6:30am) every other day to get our run in as it has been unbearably hot and humid these past several days.  We have been enjoying the time together, chatting and encouraging one another.  It's solid Mother/Daughter time for us and a great way to stay fit as well.  This morning I had a surprise for her.  I had signed us up last night for a 5K that is run in our area in October (you have the choice to run a 5K, half or full marathon for this race).  She was SO excited when I told her I had signed us up.  :)  She also gets to see a friend she hasn't seen in years at this run.  We have a good amount of time to work on our 12 minute mile, we are both highly motivated, encouraged and excited to do this together!

On a personal note this week has found me in good communion with the Lord.  I have felt greatly encouraged in my Bible reading and by a Bible/book study I am doing with some ladies called The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson.  We are also going through a series on Parenting at our Church that really has me thinking about how I will pass on my faith to my children.  I wrote a blog post about this called:  A Woman of Destiny: Building the Faith.  It has impacted me so much to think about how I need to do this with my children as my relationship with Jesus is the most precious treasure I will pass on to my children, to those around me, and to the generation coming up beneath me.   My prayers and my thought process have been in that direction this week.

I also got a beautiful gift this week from a friend of mine.  Several times now, I have heard the passage of Scripture in Hebrews 6:16-20, in particular vs 19 "This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast."  My friend found this gorgeous picture on a plaque of a boat, with an anchor on the water; Hebrews 6:16 was written on it.  She knew she had to get it for me because it was a passage of scripture that has been given to me now 7 times now.   I have it on my fireplace and am amazed that the Lord used her to bless me with His word and such a special gift.  This impacted the kids as well.  They thought it was amazing how it worked out.

I hope you have had a good week!  This post is linked back to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap Up.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Woman of Destiny: Building the Faith

Here I stand, 37 years old, contemplating my life as a women of destiny, a child of God. And I find I am more determined then ever to 'run the race,' to make each breath count as I walk this earth.  My husband is doing research on his family tree and as I watch him add each name he finds to their respective spot, I am impacted.  They are not just names on a piece of paper, they were people who lived and breathed.  They experienced love, hardship, loss, grappled with life, succeeded, failed: LIVED.  And one day I will be on that tree.  One of my ancestors will look at my name, my husband name, my children's names and perhaps; maybe even wonder about my life.   I visited my family's homestead this past summer, they came from England and settled some land up north.  My Dad's side of the family lived on that land, farmed it, sweat over it as they sought to make a life here.  While there, we discovered several names which had been written on bricks out in the sun room.  I brushed my hand over the signature's, some with dates and couldn't help but wonder what their lives were like and how they lived, and if they finished well.   As I look to my life I ask myself the question:  "How shall I pass down my lineage to the next generation?"  This is a multifaceted question because it involves 'doing'.  Anyone can hear something and agree with it on an elementary level.  The 'doing' is the most difficult part yet it reaps the greatest reward.   I consider myself blessed.  I come from a line of several generations of a people of faith.  I know both my Grandma's prayed for our family and I know my Grandpa did too.  At this writing both the matriarch and patriarch of my father's family have gone home to be with the Lord, and they finished well.  I miss their wisdom and prayers.  Now that I am older I appreciate the impact their lives had on me with the understanding and eyes of an adult. The legacy they leave me with is both a blessing and a reality.  They were flawed individuals, didn't always make the right choice(s), had their quirks and struggled with sin as in the battle Paul refers to in Romans 7:15 "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."  They were also conquerors (Romans 8:37), courageous (1 Corinthians 16:13), prayerful (Thessalonians 5:17), loving (Hebrews 13:1), suffered long (Galatians 5:22), and loved the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). 

As I look to the generation beneath me, I am reminded that I must continue to grow in my faith.  To hand that legacy down is the most precious gift I give to my children, and their children and so on.  When my soul passes from this earth, I take nothing with me.  I leave it all behind.  My fervent hope is that I have truly embraced the words, "To live is Christ, to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21).  As a women, teaching my daughters (and yes, my son also! but I am speaking to women here). I want them to understand and embrace the reality that their strength comes from the Lord (Psalm 37:39).  Their worth is not measured in beauty, not by the things they possess nor by what their skill set is.  It's not even by their accomplishments, their education and so forth.  Their worth needs to be fully rooted in a deep, abiding relationship with their Heavenly Father.  This is the measure of their womanhood.   My most fervent prayer is that I will be able to reflect Christ and my relationship with Him to my children so they may then pass that on to the generation(s) beneath them.  This requires building your house upon the rock, a sure foundation, so that when the winds come it will not be shaken nor will doubt come crashing down upon it like a wave blown and tossed by the wind.  There will be times when I fail and need to rest in the forgiveness of the cross, continuing to run the race looking to Jesus the author and finisher of my faith.  (Hebrews 12:1-6).  What I want my children to learn is that they can count on my prayers and encouragement to be a 'doer' of the word and not only a hearer.  The character of our Lord never changes, He doesn't lie, and He is indeed that sure and steadfast anchor of the SOUL (Hebrews 6:14).  They can fully trust in Him to accomplish the good work He started. (Philippians 6:1)

I have a passion for women and for the young ladies who are growing up in their faith.  They are women of destiny.  My prayer is that they will be faith builders who impact those around them with the reality that yes, they will sin, they will fall short but that the Lord will lift them up and determine their steps with purpose as they submit their wills to Him.  As a women, then, I pray for the ladies who walk along side me and for the generations coming up beneath me (not only my own kids but those who are apart of my church family) that they will write the word and promises of the Lord on the doorposts of their houses and hide them deep in their hearts.  That they will impact others with the proper balance of grace and truth in full measure.   They they will remain authentic people about all the struggles this life will hold but transformed by the renewing of their minds to reflect a mind that is stayed on Christ.  What a challenge this is but the very good news is that it is Christ in us that accomplishes this, He gives us the strength to live a life of righteousness as we constantly submit to His will and His leading.

A name I will be, upon a page one day, but the legacy I leave will grow with my children.  I want that legacy to be the gift of a relationship with Christ that reaches far into the generations beneath me.  My prayers, they have, as I seek to follow in the footsteps of my Lord. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up: Mother's Day/5K training/Lap books

We've been working on Lap Books this week.  We started Zoology Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day at the children's request.  So we started on the lap books for the the first chapter.  The picture above is the file folder folded into lap book style.  The picture below is the cover of one of the kids lap book.  They really enjoy making the cover for their lap books. :)  This one is Graham's.  He had a great time drawing these birds.

 The lap book below shows some of the information.  We are just at the beginning, so we haven't done the writing in it yet.  That is next week's work.  We've been using
from the Knowledge Box Central Series to create our lap books.  I'm very pleased with it.  It shows how to put the lap book together along with all the sheets to photocopy.  The information 'sticks' better presented in this format.

My little one wanted to spend some time doing some work on her alphabet so I started her with The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading .  She has been working well with this approach and I have found the program to be very complete and whole in its approach.  One of the best I have seen yet.  She worked on the alphabet puzzle below as well.  She really  loves this puzzle and played with a fair amount throughout the week.
The finished product.  She is very proud.
 It was Mother's Day this past weekend and I wanted to share the gifts my kids gave.  My eldest daughter crocheted me a lovely hot pad.  She did such a great job and I was thrilled.  They also gave me a new mug to enjoy a good cup of Joe in and a lovely new Bible in the NASB version.  I had been wanting one in that version to carry with me in my purse.  My youngest daughter made me that beautiful card at Sunday School along with the sucker flower!  I felt very special and loved! :) 

 My daughter and I have been training for a 5K this week.  We are on week 2 of our training schedule and have been having an amazing time doing this together.  We're using the program From Couch to 5K. We've also had the opportunity to go on several runs just by ourselves too.  Our favorite place to run is along the Riverfront.  The view is gorgeous and it's been some nice solid mother/daughter time.  The scripture we have been working through this week is Hebrews 12, we've been talking about how running the race of our faith is like training for the 5K.  I feel like it's been hitting home with the kids.  We haven't always been able to run by ourselves so at those times I take the kids to the track, while my daughter and I run the other two ride their bikes have a wonderful time as well.  They usually shout some encouragement while riding along beside us! lol  I've been sore this week but it's been worth every moment!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

Book Sharing Monday: I Heard Good News Today by Cornelia Lehn

A couple of weeks ago I shared the devotional we are working our way through called Extreme Devotion, this week I wanted to share a book geared to the younger crowd on Missions stories.  This book is a wonderful read!   They are true accounts of missionaries and missions, dating all the way back to the early church, continuing on with subsections of how the Good News was shared in places like Europe, India, China and on.  Its focus, of course, is how the Good News is spread by regular people like you and me.  The stories are not long and are presented in a story like format but with all the meat of a missions story! :)   Children can clearly see how important it is to disciple the heart for Christ with love and truth.  They also get a clear picture of how prayer is an essential discipline to this practice of sharing the gospel with those around them.  Fantastic book!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Monday, May 7, 2012

Book Sharing Monday: The Bridge by Jeri Massi

 There's a little bit of everything in this book for everyone:  castles, knights, a princess, danger, plots, and courage.  This book has been a huge hit in our home.  A young, spoiled princess must help save her kingdom and her people.  Up until events turn the kingdom into an uproar the Princess has lived in security, being pampered, unaware of how much work and courage it takes to run a Kingdom.  Forced to flee her castle after it was taken captive by a wicked man, the young princess must face the reality that running a kingdom, is not just about a title but about about strength of character.  It's about doing the right thing in the face of danger.  It's about loyalty even to the death!  And of course about the timeless battle between good and evil, right and wrong!

This book is the first in the Bracken Trilogy.  My children literally begged for me to read this little treasure.  We did it as a read a loud and they were lost in the story, waiting for the next scene to unfold.  They didn't want me to put it down and quite frankly neither did I!  I even read through the next chapter after I put the kids to bed!  Shhhh don't tell them though! lol   We will read the next two books as well and we'll re-read this one.  It was THAT good. :)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

From Couch to 5K

    My eldest daughter and I are going to start training so we can do a 5K together! :)    We begin tomorrow morning.  I spoke to an avid runner for some advice and searched out a program for learning to run a 5K.  We decided to go with this one: From Couch to 5K.    Our biggest hurdle is when.  I decided to make use of a local track a couple of streets over.  My younger two love to bike around it, so we'll head out there three mornings a week; Heather and I dressed for running the other two for biking.  That way we can all get some exercise and Heather and I can get our run in.  It's a great track, fenced in, so I can see the other two as they bike, no fear of cars! :)   I've gone over the running regime with Heather, putting the emphasis on endurance rather then speed.  I know her, she'll just want to have at it right from the start!  After we've built up our endurance we can move on to interval training but ONE thing at a time!

I'm very excited to get fit and feel better.  I also think this will make a big difference for my daughter as she goes through the changes puberty will bring.  The exercise will help with her emotions and she will learn a life time discipline of fitness.   It will be nice to accomplish this together as mom and daughter too.  :)  We're determined to be ready for a 5K in 3 months time.  And, for me, I am saying to myself:  I can do this! lol

This post is linked up to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.   Lots of fun!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Book Sharing Monday: Extreme Devotion

Apologies, it's a day late!  We've been struggling with a lot of illness in this house. :(

We read a fair amount of missionary stories in our home, from Missionary Stories with the Millers to the Christian Heros: Then and Now Series.  The kids really like them and I think it's important for them to learn from believers who took the gospel message to others despite grave danger.  This particular book is by The Voice of the Martyrs: Extreme Devotion.  It's a devotional, there are 365 stories of men and women who were called to walk out their faith in significant ways.  They are all true stories from ancient to modern day times.  The devotional begins with an account of the man or women who, at times, would pay the ultimate price to reach others with the Word of God.  It concludes with some scripture and a challenge to live out our own faith, even in the most difficult times.  We read one during our devotional time in the morning.  It has given way to lots of discussion about how to live out our faith and the fact that we live in a free country where we need not fear persecution in the ways these men and women did.   A warning though:  This book is a hard read and I do sensor it at times due to content.  Bear in mind also that my children are accustomed to reading missions stories from an early age.  We read through books like:  I Heard Good News Today (Stories for Children) and Hero Tales among others.  You would need to assess whether or not your children can handle the stories.  I have one child in particular that is very interested in missions work so she loves to read these books and eats them all up.  I have very much enjoyed reading them along side my children as well.  I feel like it rounds us out to know about the saints and reminds me very much of Hebrews 12. :)