Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Happy Birthday to Our Blue!

Can't believe it's been 8 years since this boy has come into our lives. Doesn't seem like it's been that long!!

We are going to celebrate his birthday while on vacation next week but for today we treated him to chocolate pancakes with icing and sprinkles and a special birthday interview! Here are some pics.
His icing melted cause the pancakes were so hot. Lesson learned!

And here is our Video Interview:

Thanks for stopping by!!!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Constitution Day Preparations

Did you know that this coming Tuesday, September 17, is Constitution Day? I knew but actually
forgot until I got an email from Jolanthe over at Homeschool Creations. She shared what she was going to do with her family and also shared some printables she created to go along with their lessons. They looked pretty great so I decided that we would take advantage of them and integrate some Constitution learning in our homeschool next week as well.

I am planning on using her printables along with the Constitution Day DVD from Shlessinger Media that we got from our local library. This is a short 12 minute educational dvd that explains some key points about our Constitution and what it means to be a US Citizen. There are also discussion questions on the video and a Teacher's Guide that can be printed out from the link above.

We will also read some books we checked out including the following; A More Perfect Union, We the People, and If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution.

The book I am most excited about however is one entitled Constitution Translated for Kids by Cathy Travis. I have read through this book and find it so valuable to our week's studies. The almost 100 page book has pages divided into two columns, the left column for the Constitution in it's original wording and for the right column, Mrs. Travis has painstakingly translated each paragraph, article and amendment into language that is more easily understood by children (and adults!) Here is a peek:

The original, "No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken."

Quite a mouthfull!! The right, translated column reads,"Congress must tax according to the number of citizens there are in the country based on the census. (The Sixteenth Amendment changed this so Congress could charge and collect taxes any way they wanted.)"

Makes it more understandable doesn't it? The book includes the 7 Articles, The Bill of Rights, Other Amendments, Words to Look at While You Are Reading and more. This may be one book that I end up purchasing for our family. It would be a great reference tool to have on hand.

I am also hoping to work hard on having our older kids memorize the Preamble to the Constitution next week as well. (Jolanthe included this in her printable packet linked above.) I memorized it in 7th grade and still know it to this day! We will take a look at the Preamble sentence by sentence and talk about the meaning of each. 

With so much going on in our country right now I feel it's so important that our children learn about this document that our Founding Father's thought was so important to create. I am hoping that they learn, at least a little, about why our nation is so great. 

And also, Sept. 17th isn't just Constitution Day for us, but it happens to be the 8th birthday of our Boy! Wow, can't believe this handsome fella is already gonna be 8. What a blessing this guy is to our family. Couldn't imagine our 4 pinks without this blue!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 6, 2013

How We Homeschool Part 1 - Because of "Whatever"

Before I can even tell you why we homeschool I need to start from the very beginning. Way back in the fall of 1996, when I began Bible college, I was headed into a two year Secretarial degree. Little did I know that God had other plans in store for me.

The hubs and I in our college days.
You see, I was never one of those girls who knew exactly what she wanted in life. You know the type. The ones who, at age 14, know what colors they are going to pick out for their bride's maid's dresses, how many kids she was going to have, and what they were to be named. No, I never spent much time, if any, thinking about those kinds of things. All I knew is that from the time I came to know the Lord as my personal Saviour (at almost 15), I wanted nothing more than to please Him. It didn't really matter to me how I was going to go about doing that, I just knew that is what I wanted to do. Whatever He asked, I would do.

So, this two year degree in Secretarial Business was changed by the end of my Freshman year. When I came back as a Sophmore, I was now looking at a degree in Elementary Education. No, not something I ever would have considered, but when you tell God "I will do whatever", He will lead you to "whatever".

I spent the next three years taking teaching classes and trying to figure out how to take a shy, quiet young girl and turn her into a "teacher." Along the way I met and fell in love with a quiet, unassuming guy named Jerry, the most faithful man you will ever meet by the way! After graduation I spent the summer planning my wedding and preparing to teach 2nd grade. I was excited. Still surprised that I was going to be a teacher, but excited nonetheless.

My first year was amazing, I LOVED my class. They were the sweetest kids and we had a great year. I cried at the end of the year awards ceremony. I had grown so close to these children, they were the first kids that I ever really felt close to. And, honestly, THEY taught ME so much. That year changed me and looking back I can see why.

Teaching them helped me to grow up, it prepared me for my life as a Mom. And that was only one year!

We had our first child midway through my 2nd year of teaching. God was already setting things in motion for my "life as a teaching Mom."

Big Sister helping out the Little Sister.
During the summer of 2002 we relocated to North Carolina where my husband took a position on staff at a church to begin a Spanish ministry. We served happily there and welcomed another baby girl only 22 months after the first was born.

It was around that time that my husband and I began to talk about school. I had assumed that we would just send them to a Christian school. I never gave homeschooling much thought actually until we moved to NC. The Pastor's wife homeschooled her girls but other than that, it was a foreign concept. I never planned to be a stay at home mom. As a matter of fact, I clearly remember one Sunday when our oldest was only a few weeks old. I was standing in the church nursery talking with another mom. I don't remember how we got into the conversation but I vividly remember saying, "I am just not the stay at home type." She wholeheartedly agreed that neither was she. I bet the Lord was laughing at me then! (What does the "stay at home type" look like anyway?!)

The biggest 3 kiddos in '07
Anyway, my husband and I came to the conclusion that we would probably not be able to afford Christian school on his meager income. He brought up homeschooling. I remember not being thrilled at all but made it a matter of prayer because I wanted to do whatever it was that God wanted. Just like most mothers, I wanted to give my children whatever it was that God had planned for me to give them.

I read up on homeschooling, talked with some preacher's wives that came through our church about it, spoke with my own Pastor's wife about it and prayed. After some time God began to show me that this was what He wanted for our family.

So, in the fall of 2006, I "officially" began teaching my oldest who was all of 4 years old. (Honestly, I never taught any of my others that early. That's the zealous beginning of a homeschool life for you!)

I will be honest, it wasn't all as smooth as I wish it were. We struggled...well, mostly I struggled and brought my poor little girl with me. Homeschooling was not and is not easy, however I could see God working in me. Continuing to mold me into the Mom that He knew I needed to be. Into the Mom that I wanted to be, I just didn't know it.

Me, preggo with baby 4.
Long story short, we now have 5 kids and are in our 7th year of homeschooling. Our boy is being homeschooled for the first time since he spent the last two in a Christian school and our girls did spend one year school also. More on that in a later post.

But, that is how we got our begninning. No fancy stories, no sparkling revelations from God, just a slow and steady pace, step by step, with me committing my life and desires to God Almighty. It amazes me sometimes to sit back and think that the little child-fearing girl (I NEVER babysat!) that I was has been transformed into a teaching Mama of five. God will do the unthinkable in your life if you simply let Him have control. His will may take you to places that you never dreamed of but there is nothing sweeter than being confident that you are doing His work.

Psalm 37:4,5 reminds us, "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; him and he shall bring it to pass."

We see from these verses that we need to first, delight in Him. Delight. Just enjoy your Saviour, take great pleasure in Him and Who He is. He promises to give you the desires of your heart if you do. My desires were simply to do whatever. And He gave me that through being a Mom and homeschooling. He gave me something I didn't even know I wanted, yet am so thankful for!

Next, we need to commit our lives to Him, all of it. Don't hold any part back. If you are His child then it belongs to Him anyway.

And finally, trust that He knows what He's doing. Don't fret, just tell the Lord that whatever He wants, you will be willing to do. You may be amazed at where you find yourself!
Drawn by my oldest in '07.

Drawn by my oldest in '07.

So that is why we homeschool. Not because we have a disdain for public school, not because we are against private Christian education and not because we want to seclude our children from the world. We homeschool simply because we told God we would do whatever and THIS is our "whatever." We are homeschoolers because God has called us to it. Nothing more, nothing less.

Thanks for stopping by!