Thursday, May 30, 2013

Tales of a Homeschool Nothing ~ History is HISTORY

I have a real problem with commitment. LOL It seems that no matter how hard I try, I just can't "commit" to following a schedule. Yes, I love the flexibility I have to do this, but it also stresses me out because I fall victim to the "Am I doing enough?" "Are my kids learning as much as their public school peers?" "Am I REALLY qualified for this?" questions & self doubt.

But, I am HAPPY to say that we are actually done with history! Yeah!! Now granted, I stuffed A LOT of info in this week, but we got through it.

I haven't stressed before when we didn't complete history before summer, because I would just pick up where we left off. That would be difficult this time because we were in year 4 of Tapestry of Grace. In August, we start all over again with the beginning of time, so discussing Obama one week followed by ancient civilizations the next could be a little confusing.

We still have a few lessons in Science. *sigh* I REALLY need to take a trip to an observatory!

I had a great time at the NCHE Homeschool Conference on Friday. I decided to only go to the book fair this year. Since I was in Winston anyway, I also swung by Ollies & Gullions. I love love love looking at books!!

I also stopped by Barnes & Noble to drop off the kids' summer reading lists & picked up a few FREEBIES!! *Your kid only has to log down 8 books, take to your local B&N, & pick out a FREE book!* FREE is GOOD!!

I found a book from Buzz Aldrin about his trip to space, a few books on our summer list, and several missionary stories from YWAM. I picked up several different titles relevant to Tapestry of Grace next year. Finally decided on Makenzie's math (Horizons 2), & finished buying Austin's LA.

Oh yeah & I was blessed to be able to buy All About Reading Level 1 thanks to a used curriculum email that I receive!

Austin has been attending football camp for most of this week so that has worn him out. The summer kids movies also started this week. Fun Fun.

I am calling an end to our post card project as well. Even though, we did not get a post card from everyone who originally signed up, we still received enough to call it a success. 

SHHHH - Don't look for me next week. I will have my toes buried in the sand!! Its been 5 long years since we have been to the beach as a family!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Its Summer Time & The Livin's Easy

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. But I must admit, I LOVE the lazy crazy days of summer.

The days get longer. The nights are brighter. The birds start singing earlier. The frogs croak louder. The flowers smell sweeter. 

I love sitting outside as it starts to get dark, watching the lightening bugs come out one by one. I love splashing in a mountain stream until my teeth start to chatter & my lips turn blue. I love laying by a swimming pool with the heat of the sun on my back. 

But mostly, what I love about summer is the fact that we don't HAVE to be anywhere at a certain time. Yes, there are activities that we participate in that have start times, but we don't HAVE to do them. I love that! I love the freedom of summer.

Freedom to stay up late, freedom to wake up late. Freedom to be lazy, freedom to stay busy. Freedom to be creative, freedom to do pretty much anything we want.

Unfortunately, sometimes all that freedom can lead to a different kind of dom. Boredom. How many times do we hear "I'm bored, I don't have anything to do"?

So in an attempt to curb some of that boredom, I have created our summer bucket list. Many of the things on this year's list are activities that we usually participate in every year. But some of them are brand new ideas.

I have also created our summer reading list. Most of these books I found on "most wanted" lists for children. Unfortunately, many of them, I have never read or, at least, don't remember reading anyway. Instead of a simple list to check off, I decided to make it a little more fun. I created 2 different BINGO charts with the same books on them. This gives my kids a little extra incentive to bug me to read more to them. ;)

I don't have a clue how to upload a printable document or convert excel to an image.    :(  I actually scanned that ^^^ one and saved as a picture. But I did figure out how to covert excel to a PDF & upload it.  :)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tales of a Homeschool Nothing ~ Bees, Summer, & Blessings

May is such a strange month for us. We are trying to finish up school, while trying to keep from being too excited because summer is right around the corner. Concentration is somewhat harder once the heat cranks up! LOL

So, that being said, I guess that the Grace of God Christian Academy is officially on a lightened summer schedule! 

We will continue to read literary classics all summer. Makenzie will work mainly on reading, while Austin does math & writes a few times a week. We have too many "plans" (ie, fun activities) to fulfill a strenuous academic schedule during the hot days of summer.

We do still have several decades of history to complete before we jump back to the beginning of time next year. We also have a couple of lessons in science to finish. I don't stress too much about any other book not being completed. I know that the beginning of a new year always reviews so it balances out.

Now, back to this past week.

We finished reading The Outsiders & are planning to watch the movie tonight. YEAH! Of course, I got all teary towards the end. It happens to the best of us. ;)

We discussed Nixon's Watergate, Ford's forgettable term & Betty's desire to help women struggling with addiction. We learned that Jimmy Carter battled through an energy crisis and Reagan's plan to reduce debt & help the economy failed miserably. Hey, did you know Ronald Reagan was a movie star? Me neither!

We celebrated the last day of public school with popsicles outside! Then we enjoyed friends at the park and a homemade waterslide. Oh and a particularly proud momma moment - Austin & a friend were playing with a little boy's ball at the park & accidentally lost it. After looking in the bushes for a long time, he asked me if we could give him one of the balls in our car to replace it. (*sigh* sometimes I guess I am doing the right thing with these kids)

Poor Logan got the short end of the stick after Austin tortured a "bumble bee". I was brought a screaming youngin, then I was brought the dead bee. What they thought was a bumble bee because it was furry turned out to be a Japanese Hornet! His poor fingered swelled up twice its normal size!

Tomorrow I get to go to the NCHE Conference in Winston Salem! YEAH! I'm not actually sitting in on any of the speakers this year, but I get to stroll around the book fair BY MYSELF ALL DAY LONG!! Then I get to go on a DATE with my hubby!

Stay tuned to see what kind of awesome deals I pick up!

As I look back on this week, even through my troubles & trials, I can't help but be reminded that I am blessed far more than I deserve! Far too many people woke up this morning after losing everything they own. Far too many people woke up this morning in hospitals. Far too many people woke up this morning with broken hearts because someone they love can no longer wake up.

Why God continues to bless me, I'm not sure, but I'm thankful He does!

Monday, May 20, 2013

How is Your Vision?

I admit that from time to time, my vision becomes blurry.

Anyone who wears glasses must take care of them in order for them to work properly. If you don't, things will start to appear distorted, fuzzy, or spotted.

I don't have a problem with my eyesight. I have a problem with my vision. There is a difference. Just like a pair of glasses after they have been left on the bathroom sink for any length of time must have the hairspray residue, water spots, dirt, & grime cleaned off of them, I need to have my vision cleaned as well. I don't mean to neglect it, but as time goes on, my vision just becomes more & more out of perspective.

Every night of our revival last week touched on the vision. The church needs a vision, the Christian needs a vision, the family needs a vision. All of these are important. Proverbs 29:18 "Where there is no vision, the people perish:..."

While I am very concerned with where our church is going, I need to concentrate on my Christian walk, my family, & my homeschool right now so I am available to be the pastor's wife that God wants me to be. My vision seems to have become blinded lately. I have forgotten who I am, where I am going, & why I have chosen this path.

Its easy to get caught up in the day to day insanity & lose focus on what's truly important. Our vision falls to the wayside. We forget our purpose. 

We I need to reevaluate.

We I need to remember.

We I need to refocus my vision.

I needed this reminder.

When was the last time you planted something & expected immediate results? No. The harvest will come & when it does, it will be worth it!

Remember, weary one, we are in this for the long haul. We are perfecting Kingdom work!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Tales of a Homeschool Nothing ~ Miles, Tag, & Vietnam

We have had revival at church this week. I love revival, but it tends to wear you out. We probably should have called off school this week, but getting a little bit accomplished was better than none.

We logged well over 1,000 miles this week!! So, its no wonder we only accomplished a little bit.

Saturday, we went to the Wilkes Heritage Museum, saw the Huey Helicopter, & toured the museum. I have never been inside the museum before so this was a real treat. We are even famous: here, oh & we were in the paper!  That's my, um, best side to the camera. I'm even advertising for our church!

We finished studying Vietnam this week so that helicopter was perfect timing!

An interesting tidbit - Pizza Hut, Domino's, & Little Ceasar's all opened for business within 3 years of each other. Wal-mart & K-Mart also opened the same year. We added these, plus the frisbee, flip flops, tab top aluminum cans, Barbie dolls, G.I. Joes, & instant cameras to our invention books.

Our Explorers club went to Bo's Thursday. This was another first for my family, we were not disappointed. 3.5 hours of kids running wild with unlimited fun - bowling, putt putt, arcade, & laser tag. If you are local & have never been, this is a trip that is well worth it!

I took advantage of another curriculum sale on Friday. I found well over $200 worth of books for around $40. I just LOVE looking for good deals!

I almost forgot.....we found a bird's nest this week. It was in Justin's dirt bike helmet! I guess it has been a while since the last time he rode!

I had the privilege of speaking to two different women this week who blessed me more than words can say. One is a new friend, whom just by speaking with her, reminded me just how blessed I truly am. The other is a long time friend who encourages everyone she encounters without even realizing it.

I've had one of those weeks where I've felt like I was failing at every thing that I attempted to do, so these talks came right on time.

Then I heard Amy Grant's new song "Don't Try So Hard" & felt like it was made just for me!

It's important to remember that I don't have all the answers, I don't have all the solutions, & I don't have to do it all, all the time. Sometimes, school will get done with no interruptions. Sometimes, my house will be spotless. Sometimes, my laundry will be clean, dried, & put away. Sometimes, my business will be thriving. Sometimes, the world will stop turning just so I can enjoy my kids. Sometimes, my relationship with my Savior will thrive. Most days, only 1 or 2 of these will occur at the same time. Some days, none of them will work out. But everyday, "God gives you grace and you can't earn it. Don't think that you're not worth it."

Friday, May 10, 2013

Tales of a Homeschool Nothing ~ Errands, Cows, & a Party

Honestly, we haven't managed to get much done this week (as far as book work anyway). Man, that sounds like a broken record, doesn't it?

Makenzie has had 3 Dr appointments this week - 2 of which were concerning her foot (story here). The stitches pulled out over the weekend so we had to jump trough hoops to try to get that taken care of. Long story short - its going to have to heal from the inside out. That's easier said than done when the child refuses to sit still.

We had our 2nd achievement test this week.

I was blessed to find a BUNCH of good deals at a curriculum book fair in Lake Norman. I spent around $75 and brought home over $350 worth of goodies!

We had our end of year celebration with our homeschool support group. Yeah. What fun!!

Tomorrow, we are going to see a Huey Helicopter & talk pilots from the Vietnam War. I am so excited!!

Oh, yeah, Austin spent the biggest part of one morning helping to chase cows that decided to jump out of our pasture into the neighbor's pasture. Um, that crazy cow is still there!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Tales of a Homeschool Nothing ~ What's in a Number

We participated in a state mandated, necessary evil today. State achievement testing.

UGH, I HATE this. It puts pressure on the kids. It puts pressure on the moms. It makes everyone look around at you & say, "Well, did you pass?" When did it start coming down to pass/fail? Why is that number so important?

If you will recall, I have already tested Austin once this year. For the 3rd year, we have used the Stanford test. He did better this year (in relation to his grade level) than last year, but his language arts is still lower than I think it should be.

This is also the 2nd year that we have used the WRAT (Wide Range Achievement Test). He scored at or above grade level on everything accessed here.

 I find it very interesting (maybe confusing is the better term) that the results vary so widely between the two tests.

I know the areas that my children are excelling in as well as the ones where they struggle. I also know that no one test, assessment, evaluation, or method is a perfect fit for everyone. How do we really know which one is more accurate? How do we really know which one to use for the future and which one to accept as a waste of time?

And while I am at it.....  WHY do people still expect everyone to teach to the test?! If the only things we are ever taught are the things that we are supposed to be tested on, where does that leave room for free thinking?!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tales of a Homeschool Nothing ~ That's It. I'm Moving to Texas!

Just today, I have read 2 different articles on how the state of Texas is actually allowed to think freely instead of following blindly like the rest of the nation. And that doesn't even include all the crazy things that Texas has taken a stand for in the past.

Texas is in the process of passing the "Tim Tebow" Bill where homeschoolers can actually take advantage of the tax dollars they funnel into public schools & participate in public school activities.

Well, hallelujah, its about time! I don't see what the problem has been. My family is taxed just the same as every other family. Its based on a percentage of what we make. I would bet money that there are plenty of public school kids whose parents make about the same income that my family does, so therefore, we pay the same amount in. Should we not be allowed access to certain extracurriculars?

Homeschool vs. public school should not be as big of a debate as it is. We, as parents, are all making the same decision. Just because the road we take doesn't follow the same route, doesn't mean we don't want to end up at the same place. We all want the best possible education for our children.

Hey, at least NC does have a bill in the works to allow homeschoolers to participate in public school activities. Trust me, it can't come about soon enough!

The other big hype right now is Common Core Standards. I'm no expert by any means, but anytime that we give the government more control, doesn't it usually have a less than desirable result? One of my biggest issues here is the fact that forty (yes, FORTY) states agreed to conform (I HATE that word!!) to Common Core Standards WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING WHAT THEY WERE!!! Just slap the words "better education" on something & all of a sudden everyone jumps on the band wagon for fear of being left out. Well, pardon my bluntness, but way to go Texas for _______________.

Sorry, that's what I really wanted to say, but......

Way to go Texas for taking a stand & not following the rest of the United States.

Didn't your momma always ask you if so & so jumped off a cliff, would you do it to?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Tales of a Homeschool Nothing ~ Blood, Water, & Milk otherwise known as A Decade of Change

WOW, What a week! Can't you tell?!?! ^^^^ LOL

Early on in the week, that ^^^^ was NOT the title that was rolling around in my head, but today, yeah, it works.

On a personal note, my sweet Makenzie got baptized Sunday! (see, water)

Wednesday, she fell in a whole at church & cut her pinky toe on a broken pipe. I will leave out all of the grizzly details, but, who knew a toe could bleed so much? It took 4 stitches. I just hope it heals ok because of the location. (see, blood)

Then, Thursday, while our Keepers & Contenders made wire crosses, my graceful child fell on a board & jabbed a nail in her leg. (yep, more blood)

Our Explorers club got to visit a dairy farm Thursday. Even though we live right beside a dairy farm & this is nothing new to my kids, they had so much fun seeing all the cows, the calves, & learning about the milking process. (um, milk)

Now, for the rest of the week that fought desperately to be named......

History has C O N S U M E D our week! You know how I LOVE history, so this week has been so much fun. We finished the 50's and started studying the 60's. This era had so many HUGE things going on. One day, we switched it up & started with history (we usually wait until after lunch). That's all we talked about all day. Its always a good sign when the kids say, "No, I want to hear more!"

We listened to the music before Elvis & talked about what an incredible impact he still has on the musical industry. Then we listened to sooo many different clips from the 60's. Just like everyone else, some they loved, some they couldn't wait for me to change. Austin was awestruck at Jimi Hendrix's rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. All of them enjoyed Elvis & felt the need to dance like him. Lynyrd Skynyrd, Chubby Checker, Johnny Cash, George Jones, & Jerry Lee Lewis were also among the favorites. On the other hand, Pink Floyd, The Beach Boys, Janis Joplin, Patsy Cline, & Bob Dylan were not appreciated for their legendary contributions. I could have spent all week long just studying the musical genius that evolved out of the shadows of war.

We talked about Civil Rights and the similarities between Kennedy & Lincoln. We watched JFK's assassination & JFK Jr's farewell salute. As we were watching a Woodstock video, Austin remembered something that I had said last week & remarked "Weren't you there?". (BWAHAHAHA, um no, I wasn't born yet, but thanks for thinking I'm really old!) As we were graduating high school, a friend & I desperately, but to no avail, wanted to go to the 25th anniversary of Woodstock.

We made a lava lamp with oil, water, & Alka Seltzer.

Another highlight this week, we are reading The Outsiders! They keep begging me to read more. I love revisiting many of the classics I read as a child. Justin is always saying "Stay gold Ponyboy" so I just knew he would be excited too. When I showed him the book, he just looked at me. Long story short - he has never even heard of it, let alone read it. He picked the quote up from a friend. REALLY?! Oh my stars! I couldn't believe it! I guess I need to be educating my husband as well.

We have also been watching Fly Me to the Moon on youtube. Its a little cheesy, but cute.

In science, we have been watching Chris Hadfield from the Canadian Space Agency show us what it is like living on the International Space Station. He turns tedious, everyday activities into fun experiments.

We watched Journey to the Stars by Nasa. Even though I had to reiterate (my kids knew this, but I felt the need to remind them) that the world is not billions of years old & that everything didn't "poof" into existence, it was a fascinating video with lots of fun graphics.

We still need to make our hurricane in a bottle to simulate the crazy weather on Jupiter.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot - we have a new baby! A baby calf, that is! (haha - more milk)

I’m Waiting on the Bigger & Better

Sometimes certain people have been in your life so long it’s hard to remember where they came from, how they got there, & even how you l...