Thursday, January 7, 2016

Back to {home}school

Whoops. Just noticed my last post was in September! I had started blogging a bit more back then but I started getting a lot of negative comments and honestly just didn't want to to deal with it at the time. I know that totally comes with the territory of posting anything publicly online but I just was not in the mood! But, I like blogging and enjoy personally going back and reading them so I am going to push least for today, ha! But I digress...

On Monday we kicked off the second semester of our school year. We went with an all new curriculum this year and on our fourth year of homeschooling I think we are starting to find our groove. One big thing I have learned about myself is that (at least in this season) I am not a fan of any sort of academic co-ops. I feel really capable of teaching my children what they need to know at this point and having other people dictate our schedule just doesn't work for me. I prefer to spend our outside of the house time doing things we can't replicate at home... which basically is playing with friends. This year God really provided for that desire in my heart by giving us some friends we meet up with for lunch most Wednesdays and a big group of homeschoolers from our church that we get together with for holiday parties and park playdates. It is the perfect fit for us this year.

I explained back in August in this post that we would be using My Father's World this year. Although we are having a great year I can't decide for sure yet how I feel about this curriculum. My Father's World provides your history, Bible, and science and then you bring in your own math, language arts, and spelling. I love the history part of it so much, the Bible is good, but I am not a fan of the science. So, the challenge for me is that it feels really expensive for just a history curriculum. So, I am not sure what we will do next year but I am thankful we have done it this year. I have loved the books they have chosen though and love reading aloud to my kids. Reading aloud is definitely at the heart of our homeschool. I really think at the end of the day I am a "free spirit" when it comes to educating my kids. My favorite part of homeschooling is the ability to stop and dig in deep when my kids find something they are interested in. So, any curriculum that makes that difficult is not my favorite!

I try to remind myself often that the "pioneer" homeschool moms that fought to make curriculum available to us and get laws passed that protect our homeschooling rights kept things simple. And all of these awesome statistics about how successful homeschoolers grow up to be, came mostly from moms who didn't have fancy curriculum and co-ops but instead diligently kept their children at home, focused on reading, writing and arithmetic, and fostered an attitude of diligence and a love of learning in their children. I will butcher this completely but I can't find the exact quote, but the wonderful author and speaker Sally Clarkson says something like, "if you read excellent books, listen to excellent music, and have excellent conversations with your children you will be raising geniuses." And I know that there is a little more to it than that but that quote really encourages me and keeps me focused!

So here is to a fresh semester and a new year!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Early rising.

I used to be a total night owl. I'm pretty sure in college I never went to bed before 1am. But, when you are a mom of early risers, sleeping in just isn't a part of life. I think early on in having kids I felt frustrated that I couldn't sleep in. But honestly, I kind of just let go of that. Because I realized on mornings where my sweet husband did let me sleep in I felt bummed that I had missed out on a sweet morning with my family. So, I basically decided to be a morning person. And it was kind of that easy. Although, since having more kids and adding in homeschooling my days are really full. So, it has become really important to me to wake up early before anyone else so that I can have some quiet time. I am a much better mom when I have had the chance to wake up, have a cup of coffee and spend some time with the Lord before I greet my small people. It kind of makes me laugh now because I know in the past when I have wanted to get up early to exercise or something it never lasted for more than a few days. I guess it just wasn't enticing enough to get out of my cozy bed and exercise. But, coffee and some alone time before my day starts is totally worth waking up early. I love and treasure this time so much. So these days my alarm is set at 5:40 and I stumble downstairs and get the coffee maker going (and a smart person would prep the coffee pot the night before... but apparently I am not that person). Usually I have until 6:15 or 6:30 until I am greeted by one of my little boys.
Yesterday I got up early to work on making prayer cards, an idea I got at a prayer conference at our church awhile back. I loved having the quiet time to work on this!

P.S. The key to waking up early is to just start doing it. I used to try to start by going to bed earlier but it is hard to make yourself fall asleep early if you are used to staying up late. But, after several days of consistently waking up early you will be tired and start easily falling asleep early. Now I fall asleep between 9:30 and 10 almost every night.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Field trippin'

On Friday the kids and I went on a little field trip to Purina Farms with some homeschool friends. I had never been before but it was such a good time. Here are a few pictures from our adventure.

I might have even teared up during the whole dog show. Not that the dogs were that spectacular... although their jumping up to catch frisbees was pretty impressive... But, I was just so thankful to be there with my kids. Getting to watch their little faces light up. Being the one who gets to enjoy their moments and days is such a privilege that I really do not take for granted.

And this is totally unrelated but I LOVED this post from Kelly's Korner on sleep. I really wish she had written it 7 years ago when Sophie was a baby. It is about babies and sleeping and it is just such a good post. I remember feeling so judged by some of my mom friends at the time and just feeling like I was the worst mom. I'm so thankful for mommy bloggers like Kelly who are so encouraging! So, if your baby isn't a good sleeper go read this and be encouraged... and maybe treat yourself to a Starbucks today! 

Friday, September 18, 2015

The best kind of girl time.

When your daughter asks if you can sit down and have tea together and read Bible verses to each other there is only one answer. Yes, please.
 Sophie got out our Bibles and I made the tea. Soph suggested we read the book of Daniel. I ended up doing most of the reading because there are some hard names to pronounce in that book.
Then she went and got beads to make us friendship bracelets. She wanted to make me one so I won't miss her so much when she moves to China to become a missionary. She also plans to marry a Chinese boy she finds there. I'm not sure Nick is excited about this plan.

I am so thankful to have a daughter.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Playtime on the deck,

My kids were playing so nicely outside all together that I had to go and take a picture. I was so impressed at how well they were all getting along.They had all came up with a great plan together and had quickly gathered what they needed and ran outside to play together... and then before I was even all the way back inside they started fighting... Ha. Oh well, it was still a sweet moment and they really do love each other.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I am ready for fall.

It was in the 80's yesterday. It is supposed to be in the 90's at the end of this week. I am trying really hard to pretend that it is fall but this weather is not helping. I channeled it all yesterday with corduroy pants and moccasins... But, the hotness just takes away all feelings of fall. So lame. I did see 75 in the forecast for the weekend so that is promising. We shall see.

In other news, we took a family trip out to Trader Joe's yesterday evening after dinner. I finally scored and they had 3 bags left of frozen cauliflower rice, so of course I snagged up every single bag. Cauliflower rice is not that hard to make but I love the idea of just dumping it out of the bag but they never have it in stock. I was mildly giddy. I also got gluten free pumpkin pancake mix for a deliciously FALL post Whole30 breakfast.

I love Trader Joe's! And I love fall... so hurry up and get here!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Mondays can be good.

Mondays can sometimes be hectic. Yesterday was a pretty good one though. I'm really trying to focus on being present and enjoying my days at home with my kids and I can tell a huge difference on days that I do.

 On Monday mornings my big kids have piano lessons. Sometimes I go to Target. But, Sam is not my favorite Target shopping companion these days so lately I go and grab a coffee and then park back at our piano teacher's house, put on a movie for the little boys and read or journal. It is lovely.

And I just had to show this picture because I love it. Two year olds are the best. This was Sam when I asked him to smile while he was watching his movie. He was so precious looking up at the League of Increadible Vegetables but then you know how kids are. He sensed that there was a camera pointed at him.... so I got the stink face.

Last night as I was making dinner I was overwhelmed with gratitude for this life I am getting to live. Homeschooling is hard and a lot of days it makes me cry. Having 4 younger kids right now (especially three of them being boys... do you know boys can't keep their hands to themselves for even a minute? Physically impossible.) is really hard and some days I cry because I feel like a failure. A really tired failure. But, yesterday I felt so grateful. I wouldn't want to be doing anything else with my life. Being a mom has always been my dream and I get to do it. 

So yeah, this Monday was a pretty good one.