Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Update on Isaac

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And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety. (2 Corinthians 1:10, 11 NLT)

Thank you all for your prayers. Isaac has just now been downgraded to a tropical storm after leaving flooding, wind and rain along the coast. We are now waiting for the worst of it to head our way.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hurricane Isaac

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Our homeschooling week is not off to a good start. We had been eyeing Tropical Storm Isaac, expecting it to become a category two hurricane. Thankfully Isaac has just made landfall as a category one hurricane with winds at 80 mph instead of a category two with winds at 100 mph.

The beginning of our week was spent running errands to prepare for Isaac's wrath.  We took our learning on the road yesterday, but today was frustratingly wasted waiting for a stalling Isaac.  I should have expected this and I guess not all was lost. Rick was off of work after a very LONG last week.  The boys missed him so they spent the day playing video games.  I wish we would have at least done something school related since its now 7:15 p.m. and this hurricane has finally made landfall.  Now we sit and wait to see if the lights will go out.  Hopefully they won't, and if they do it won't be for too long.  

Being from the bayous of Louisiana, sitting through a hurricane isn't uncommon, but its still no fun.  My family still lives on the flood prone coast and even though their house is up on "stilts" they still have to evacuate the area.  My husband and our family on the other hand live further inland.  Flooding isn't really an issue here but if the power goes out it can be out for days.  Being in the middle of summer, that is no joke.  Prayerfully Isaac won't be so bad and God will be merciful.  He has shown us mercy as this hurricane could have been much stronger.  

Getting ready to boil crawfish under my folks house
(just to give you an idea of how high my folks home sits)
All my gulf coast family and friends, stay safe out there!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Homeschool games

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The boys and I eased into our first week of lessons since I wasn't sure how they would take to actually paying attention to what I was saying.  It didn't take long for me to get frustrated because we couldn't get through reading a lesson or filling out worksheets.  Maybe its just because they're boys, but my kids don't like to sit still.  Well, what kids do right?

Homeschool letter craft
Indian Letter Craft

I ordered a Kindergarten curriculum complete with handwriting, phonics, math, science, history and bible from  I should have gone with my gut and ordered Sonlight's program, but because of the lack of funds we got what was cheapest for the time being.  I hate it.  The boys hate it.  Well...they are getting used to it (and used to doing "school" altogether).  After the beginning of the third week I had to ask myself, "what is the point of homeschooling if we will ALL end up this frustrated?  I might as well ship them off to public school!"

So I started looking for more multisensory things to do with the boys.  I'm still working on it.  They would rather play and I would rather teach them playing than have us all in tears by the end of the day.  They love board games and playing with dice.  I found some great dice math games from Kidscount1234 and made up a quick Number Matching Go Fish game out of index cards to help the boys with recognizing their number words.

Number Match Go Fish

Since we were working on learning the short vowel sounds I decided I needed a board game for that too.  Thank goodness for photography and knowing how to use Photoshop!!  I found a blank board game printable at the ESL-Lounge, opened the PDF in Photoshop, and filled the spaces in with pictures that had the short vowel sounds (at the time we had only covered A and E so only pictures with those sounds are in the photo).  If you would like a copy of this PDF game, or the PSD file to add other photos to it, please message me.  I'd be happy to share.

I got some blank colored cubes from SchoolAids and on one cube, wrote both the lower and uppercase letters for the vowel sounds we were working on.  The boys each chose a colored cube as a game piece and took turns moving through the board.  It proved to be a success!  (Thank GOD.)

Short Vowel Sounds Game

This last week I attempted to add History.  We are using Christian Liberty's History for Little Pilgrims.  We've only gotten through one unit so far so I'm not sure if I will continue to use this curriculum for next year.  I decided not to stress too much if they don't get it since it is technically for first grade.  I will also use some of Abeka's Social Studies worksheets for Kindergarten.

Hard at work with handwriting practice

So far we've had two piano lessons via Skype with my sister.  I'm hoping things go a little smoother for our future lessons after some of the excitement of seeing their Aunt Jackie wears off.  :)  They've learned finger numbers, one clapping song and completed two book pages.  How exciting!!  I can't wait to hear those little hands play their first song!

Piano Lessons

I got a great Geography program from the Homeschool Omnibus package sale last week.  The Geography program is from Erica at ConfessionsofaHomeschooler.  She has a free preschool curriculum and some other great printables on her blog.  Not to mention she is an awesome homeschool mom!!  Definitely check her out if you haven't already.

Although we do bible to start off every morning, I think some of the stories in CLP's bible books are a little over my youngest son's head.  I could be wrong, but for now I am filtering most of the books for next year.  We have been watching Superbook and Veggietales episodes to supplement our readings and by the end of this past week, I decided I was going to go through Proverbs instead.  Their little brains are stimulated much more with Proverbs as its something they can actually relate to.

During the week I let the boys play educational computer games.  They love these and I love that its reinforcing what we're learning through the week.  So far their favorites are Jumpstart Advanced Kindergarten & First Grade, Reader Rabbit's Balloon Town, Reader Rabbit's Capers on Cloud Nine, and Mickey's Kindergarten.  Occasionally they will ask to play Charlie ChurchMouse Kindergarten & First Grade which is great for bible stories.  You can download demo Jumpstart games and other learning games here.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Homeschooling...Another Adventure

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I must admit, I'm not at ALL a disciplined blogger. I sometimes have these moments where I dream of doing something great for the world; share some insight...some revelation I've been graced with...some struggle I'm sure others are not a stranger to...and then I think, "hey, maybe I'll blog about this." Other times I desperately need an outlet; some place to vent my joys, fears and frustrations. Sometimes I just want a place to come back to when the memories fade. Alas, here I am. Fashionably (or terribly) late with yet another tale on my tongue. True story.

I should have titled this "Home-schooling...Another Blog?!". God knows I've researched a MILLION of them. Honestly, I've spent the last two to three years researching and collecting homeschooling resources without actually preparing! At least, that's what it feels like. Of course, I don't think I'd have even known how to prepare. Do I even need to prepare? (I'm sure I'm making this out to be way more complicated than it needs to be.)

Bible, Phonics, Handwriting and Math; I can handle this right?  I mean, its only Kindergarten.  But there's a whole world of things to learn out there.  Science, History, Music, Art, Foreign Language.  Where do I start? Do they really need to know all of this right now?  What should I teach?  HOW do I teach? What should my day look like? Am I doing enough? Am I doing too much?! WHY WON'T MY KIDS SIT STILL?!

Remind me again, WHY do I want to home-school?!

Sure I was gung-ho the first week. "I got this."  I was determined; reluctant, but determined. The second week I was frustrated, afraid and short-tempered. By the third week I was in tears and too afraid to let anyone know about it. (Thank God for the goofy YouTube video that someone posted on a local homeschooler group's Facebook page. (Watch it here.  One day, I will "hold my head up high.")

What I was NOT prepared for was the character lessons "Yours truly" was going to learn. Of course I assumed my flaws would come to light, and I expected it and even hoped for it, knowing that:

"...tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope." (Romans 5:3-4 NKJV)

More of Jesus and MUCH less of me was and is the anticipated goal, and even now I am grateful for the struggle. Having this sense of failure and hopelessness however, I am not.

Ah tribulation...The word tribulation literally means “pressure.” In that day, it was the word used to describe the crushing of grapes or olives. In order to produce wine or oil, the grapes or the olives had to go through tribulation. I think it's safe to say that I've been under pressure.

My thoughts have gone in a million different directions. Some of them have been trying to understand why I am the way I am, some of them are hanging on to hope that God will finish the work He started in me ("being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; "(Philippians 1:6 NKJV), and still others are blaring that I'm a failure of a wife and mother because I can't keep up with cooking and housework, and I've yelled at the kids a bazillion times.

I know I'm not alone.  I've read countless blogs, books and articles on home-school moms who've walked the same road.  I know I'm no different.  Honestly, I welcome it, knowing that when I'm pressed enough I have no other direction to look but up.  I will take being pressed over being stagnant ANY day.  Which has been the theme of my spiritual life these past few years.

I made the decision to home-school for the sake of my children's future and their spiritual maturity (I'm reminding myself).  I want them to know that they are loved beyond measure, and not only if we have a good school day.  I want them to grow up to be strong, passionate, devoted, spirit-filled men of God.  If this is God's plan for our family, and I believe it is, I know He will see me through it.

"And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."  (2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV) 

So, this is me boasting in my infirmities.  Let me shout it from the rooftops, I AM WEAK.  I don't just need God's grace and His strength, I need His Spirit to change me.  Then, at the end of our home-school journey, there will hopefully be more fruit of the Spirit being pressed out of me than the junk that's coming out now.

And hey, maybe I won't be a stranger to this blog anymore.  ;)

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law."  Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV)

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whetherthere is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."  1 Corinthians 13:1-13 NKJV)

P.S.  I am currently reading "Boundaries with Kids: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Children" by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.  

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