I haven't posted since last fall... whoops! :D  No excuses, just not feelin' it.  Homeschooling has gone surprisingly well since the Fall.  The workboxes I talked about in an earlier post have been A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!  "When will we be done" is completely gone forever!  Success!!!  My Father's World on the other hand, Fail!  Ha Ha!!  I fretted about that curriculum for way too long.  We are talking over a year!  I tried so hard to make it fit us; why not, so many other families love it.  Well, I have definitely learned my lesson.  It is good to stick with something even through the difficult times, but not when it just isn't working.  I gave myself the best gift a homeschooling mother could give herself...  permission to drop the curriculum.  I sold it on ebay, and never looked back. 
                                                    FREEDOM!! (screamed all braveheart style)
We were already using a different Science program by that time, so I only needed to replace the Geography/History program.  We used Spectrum workbooks from the bookstore for map skills, etc.  It has great graphics and does a nice job of teaching practical skills.  The history portion is written from an evolution/ non biblical standpoint, which is a drawback for us.  So, I chose not to use it for history.  Now, we are on to Early American History using the Beautiful Feet curriculum.  I really like it!  If anyone is looking for a stand-alone history/geography program that is literature based and biblical worldview, then I encourage you to consider Beautiful Feet (bfbooks.com).  I have been able to borrow most of the books from the library.  God is good!  Such a blessing!

This pic is from out last field trip.  It was a Nutrition Fun Bus.

Emy and J have finished up their Science for this year.  They like Science, so it is pretty easy to get them to spend the extra time on it.  Even though I let them choose their Science this year, there is still content in subjects that they probably wouldn't choose that is beneficial to learn.  I love Science but I can honestly say I am dreading Botany and Astronomy.  Just not my idea of awesomeness.  So, to make it as palatable as possible, I had this grand idea to teach Botany in the Spring when God's Creation is on birthing FIRE!!! LOL!  Who, honestly, doesn't want to learn about plants when they are in the new and beautiful stage.  Much better than learning during the winter and pretending to look at green plants!  Well, my good pal was able to loan me Apologia Botany, and I had the bright idea to do another years worth of Science in the next two months!!!!  (those exclamation points are sarcastic ;-))  We learned about Taxonomy and will be diving deep into the classification process.  I realized after the 3rd day that this is going to be too advanced for A.J.  He is resilient and will get to learn it anyway.  Two years ago, I would have cried myself to sleep if he didn't excel at learning plant Latin names the 1st day I taught them.  Now, PRAISE GOD, I have lightened up and know that he will learn as he listens and he will pick up what he is mature enough to pick up.  Seriously,  I haven't used the words - Binomial Nomenclature since high school, and I definitely didn't learn it in third grade.  It isn't worth breaking his spirit to make me feel like I am in control.  AH... GROWING... isn't it nice to be able to look back and see growth! 

 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Phillipians 1:6 NLT

Emy at the Nutrition Field Trip
We started a new bible curriculum this Spring!  I absolutely LOVE it!!  It is an Apologetics series by Apologia.  (yep, the science people)  We have started "Who Is God?".   If you like how the Apologia Science books are laid out, you will LOVE this series!  If you would like to take a look at it, just let me know! 
My motive for trying this bible curriculum is this:  My kids have grown up in church.  They are taught by amazing Sunday School teachers, and have had many great devoted teachers in the past.  They know bible stories... they could TEACH bible stories.  They have had plenty of formula... THEY NEED FRUIT AND VEGGIES AND MEAT!!!!  Sadly, they aren't that little anymore.  They need to be presented with why they believe what they believe and decide whether they are going to accept it, or reject it.  That is my personal feelings regarding my own children... I know them, and I know where they are spiritually and for what they are ready.  It has turned out to be excellent.  Such a blessing!  Currently, we are learning about building your house on the sand, or the rock.  Great discussions and food for thought have come from this study of God's Word!  :-)  PTL!!!

J reading in bed.  Night Owl just like me

We went to the Great Homeschool Convention a few weeks ago.  It was sooooo fun!!!!  It was the first time we attended classes.  Before, we would just go for all the vendor booth to look at curriculum we were interested in and ask questions.  We were able to watch Tim Hawkins again.  He is so funny!  A friend of mine, who was attending the conference, and I knew not to sit in the front because Tim will make fun of you if you sit up front.  We learned that the hard way last year.  LOL!!  He was totally making fun of us laughing at him.  He is such a bully. :-) 
    The sessions we sat through were so encouraging.  We learned about Whole-Brain Thinking (Brain in a Bag).  It was so encouraging, believe it or not!  As a mother of a boy, to understand the importance of movement... by a man who trains famous athletes, was empowering.  It makes me wanna shout  "SEE!!! I TOLD YOU!!!!  HE NEEDS TO BOUNCE!!!"  
Ray and I also listened to Andrew Paduwa, who founded the Institute of Excellence in Writing.  I am planning to use his program and so we attended a session called  "so what about Grammar".  My biggest take-homes from this speaker were that it is sooo beneficial to a child to be read to daily at 2 years above grade level to develop their vocabulary for two hours a day.  I'm not gonna lie to you, I don't read to my kids for two hours a day.  But at least now I have a great concept to constantly not live up to and regret for the rest of my life.  HA!  He also recommended Latin.  Reasoning:  it is a dead language that doesn't change.  and I can't remember the other reason but since he is awesome and has award winning awesome writing stuff we are going to learn latin.  Emily is so excited.  She wants to start now.  So like I said, we went to his class addressing when and how to teach grammar.  I am often frustrated and feel pressure to follow the STANDARDS when, sometimes, I think that you really don't need to know what an intransitive verb is until they are more mature... not third grade or fifth grade for that matter.  There is something about maturity that makes learning more complex concepts much easier.  Association, maybe??? I dunno.  Emily has mentally matured quite a bit and I can see that she is growing in her critical thinking, thinking more abstract or whatever.  But I SEE that change and know that she can handle more complex thought.  My younger child is just that... younger.  He isn't there yet, nor should he be force into something God has developed in him yet.  The speaker confirmed my suspicions about teaching things that can't be associated, thankfully!  A.J. must have shouted for joy as I ripped pages from his grammar workbook.  Please don't confuse this with memorization which is beneficial at ANY age!  You can memorize things in a fun way for later use.  I guess you could memorize in a boring way too but who wants that! 
 We were able to go to the Math U See booth and a wonderful lady answered a million questions.  I have desired to use Math U See, but having older children, I just wasn't sure how we could transition from a spiral-based math program to a mastery program.  She was so helpful!  I felt like Ray and I had an Aha Moment by speaking with her.  She gave us so much peace and guidance.  What a blessing was she!!!  So we will be quickly working through the teacher's guides and using the free online worksheet generator to find any loose ends that we may have from not using mastery previously.  Then next year we will be on target! 
  The session I enjoyed the most was called Mary and Martha decide to homeschool: for Marys only, taught by the author of the Mystery of History, a self-proclaimed Mary.  lol!  It was so encouraging.  As I have talked about before, I struggle with organization.  She had so many encouraging ideas.  It was nice to see a room full of women that God made in a similar way that he made me.  Ponytails, late, no pens.  Sometimes not being a Martha make me feel like I'm wrong or bad.  It was refreshing to see that God made the other 50% just like me.  They just don't live where I live.  ha!   Ironically, I totally forgot to order the audio cd of her session before we left. Should have written it down!
  The convention was excellent!  Ray and I had such a nice time!

Lucy our dog "helping" Emily with her lessons...

On a more personal level...  I officially left the workforce completely in December.(except for filling in at the power plant a day or two a year. lol!) Those who know me well know that I really liked my job.  It was a really fulfilling type of job, but it just wasn't what God desired for my life and He wasn't honoring it.  Every dollar I made was labored in vain.  LOL!  That sound super dramatic.  ha!  Something always came up and there was nothing to show for it.  I finally submitted to God in November regarding this situation and it has been smooth sailing ever since.  Being of such little faith...  how embarrassing.  God has provided for ALL our needs and lots of wants, too.  What a merciful God is He!! 

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26 NIV
So, overall, this has been a great school year!  I have made so many new friends this year.  Nothing is more amazing that hearing how God is working in others lives and seeing that He is a God that loves his children.  It has been a huge blessing.  I am so thankful that God called us to homeschooling.  I know that it is a privilege.  But most importantly, I have learned that when God calls you to something, he will see it through... for real... He really does that...   Awesome <3 

I will lead blind Israel down a new path, guiding them along an unfamiliar way. I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them. Yes, I will indeed do these things; I will not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16 NLT  (hopefully I didn't inaccurately take this out of context :-O )

Only proofread once... ;-)

05/01/2013 11:10am

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the workbox system too!
What a great post about a great year! Fun! I loved reading it and liked hearing about different conference sessions too! I need to write out about mine sometime too. Adding to my to do list, hehehe!
I totally hear you on the math! We are also switching to mastery style next year too! My oldest especially hated the spiral style.


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