Thursday, June 30, 2011

Homeschool Planning: What I Do

I have been spending some time working on our homeschool planning for this upcoming school year. I am so pleased with how the planning has gone so far. Usually, I never feel like I am organized enough. I continually try to find methods that might work "better" than others...but I have never been fully satisfied with how it has all been set up. I know many struggle with this, as well, so I thought I would share what I have found to work best for us...

This year, after reading Managers of their School by Steve and Teri Maxwell, I realized a few things that have helped me to gain a better feel of organization with my homeschool planning. In PA, we are required to do 900 (elementary) hours *or* 180 days of school. This equals 36 ~ 5-day-weeks of education. So when you look in your curriculum, for each subject, you can figure out how many days per week you need to do to accomplish all the lessons.

For example, if your reading curriculum has 180 lessons, you would need to have a reading lesson daily. If your reading curriculum only has 72 lessons, you would have to schedule reading lessons for only twice a week. Our art curriculum only has 39 lessons...which puts us at around 1 lesson per week. So, because of this, each child will not have *all* their subjects to do everyday.

I have written up a routine for the school year from the time we wake up until 2pm. After that, the children will be free to play for the rest of the afternoon and I will be able to get some things done and start supper. Here is a look at what I have planned...

Mom Daily Schedule:

6-7:00am: Breakfast, Devotions/Quiet time, Computer (and in winter, go out and check the woodstove)
7-7:30am: Wake Chris, make his lunch and coffee, Get children's breakfast
7:30-8am: Shower, Start laundry, Kiss Chris off to work
8-8:45am: Housework
8:45-9am: Devotions/Prayer/Singing with Children
9-11:30am: Schooling with Children
11:30-12: Prepare lunch
Noon-1pm: Lunch Break
1-1:30pm: Schooling with Xavier
1:30-2pm: Read aloud with Children
2pm +: Housework, Supper Prep

Children's Daily Schedule:

7-7:30am: Feed Dogs/Chickens, Get dressed
7:30-8am: Eat Breakfast, Make Bed
8-8:45am: Help Mama with Housework
8:45-9am: Devotions with Mama
9-11:30am: Schoolwork
11:30-1pm: Lunch Break/General clean-up
1-1:30pm: Schooling for X, Free Reading for Madelyn, Rest for Jaxson
1:30-2pm: Mama reads aloud from chapter book.

Of course, there will be days schoolwork takes longer or shorter amounts of time...we can still be flexible, but I like having a general plan. It makes for a smoother day!

I also have the children's school time mapped out. There are subjects we will all work on together (such as astronomy, bible, and PA history)...and then times they will work alone on things. I have set aside certain times when I can give individual attention with each child...and will also help them as needed, through the day!

I have also learned that I don't have to *date* everything ahead of time. That was my first problem in past years. This time, I found a wonderful undated planner HERE (actually, I found mine on Amazon for cheaper! You can also get printable pages like these and then put them in a binder. My printer is on the fritz, so I just bought my own books). It has no fluff...just the basics, perfect! Then I began planning weeks one and two for Madelyn (remember, you won't have every subject every you will have blank spots)...

**Once we decide when we will officially begin our school year, I can plug in the first week's dates. This allows me to plan out all the weeks ahead of time and plug dates in, as we do them!

So, you can see, the subjects are listed along the left side in gray and go along horizontally...then starts the week days, vertically. Each day, the child will have around 5 subjects to accomplish. I have master schedules written out for each weekday, during school-time (9am-2pm). These will tell who will do what, at what time. For example, on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9-9:30am, I will work with all three children on our astronomy lesson. Then, on those same days, from 9:30-10am, Madelyn and Xavier will each work on their math lessons while I work with Jaxson on his "learning to read" work.

A look at X's first week of schooling, all planned out...

Have I lost you yet? ;) Honestly, I really like routines and I truly feel this will work very well for us...keeping us on-task and get much accomplished. I have tried other methods and ideas out, but found I was more easily prone to not get as much done as I would have liked to. I really feel each homeschooling family needs to explore different methods and use the one that works best for them. Some people may find a nature walk to be a wonderful way to approach a science lesson. For me, I like to get the book work done...soak in the knowledge and *then* take a nature walk, just for fun (learning alongside of it just happens to be a bonus)!

Of course, learning is a daily happens in everything we do. We each are always learning something new. While driving in the car or eating a meal, the children enjoy when I give them words to spell or have them answer questions from Brain Quest. I believe learning can be fun and enjoyable...but for us, I think the book work part is also important.

This year, we are again using Christian Light Education for the majority of our curriculum. However, I wasn't a huge fan of their science curriculum so we are doing Apologia Astronomy for our science studies this year! Also, I have an old PA History schoolbook that the children and I will use to study our state history. I am looking forward to all the learning we are going to do this school year!

I have tried to read back through the post to see if I was confusing...but it's just so hard to tell from my viewpoint (since I already have an understanding of what I am trying to explain). I hope you have found this post useful...or at least found a tidbit of an idea to use with your homeschool planning. :) If you have any questions...please feel free to email me (left sidebar) or comment on this post. If I get numerous questions, I may just make a new post of them, in case others are wondering the same thing.

**Before I go...I just wanted to thank you all for sharing in my joy that I posted about HERE. God is moving in Chris...truly. It's as if Chris has had a breath of (Holy Spirit) fresh air go through him! It's amazing! I am continually thanking God. It's breath-taking when you see your prayers answered, isn't it?

**And, I am excited to be able to share that my blog has been featured on THIS site. I've never been "featured" before, so I was quite surprised when I got the email. I hope it is not prideful to share this excitement with you...?

Well, I need to skee-dattle! Thanks for visiting today!

"We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand... and melting like a snowflake. Let us use it before it is too late." ~Marie Beyon Ray

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Friendship's Flower

Life is like a garden
And friendship like a flower,
That blooms and grows in beauty
With the sunshine and the shower...

And lovely are the blossoms
That are tended with great care,
By those who work unselfishly
To make the place more fair...

And, like the garden blossoms,
Friendship’s flower grows more sweet
When watched and tended carefully
By those we know and meet.

And, if the seed of friendship
Is planted deep and true
And watched with understanding,
Friendship’s flower will bloom for you.
~Helen Steiner Rice

You may have noticed that I really enjoy the poems and words of Helen Steiner Rice. I have used them often, in my posts. :) I got to see my sister well as littlest Eloise. If you haven't, you should go see this short video of her HERE. She's too sweet! :) 

I have much I would love to share...but a headache has set in and I need to rest it for a bit. I hope you are each enjoying your week. I enjoy all the comments and emails I receive from you...*thank-you*! Your kind words, love and encouragement are such a gift to me! I look forward to writing more and having new photos to share, soon! 


"We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand... and melting like a snowflake. Let us use it before it is too late." ~Marie Beyon Ray

Monday, June 27, 2011

"When you ask God for a gift....

Be thankful if He sends,
Not diamonds, pearls or riches, 
But the love of real true friends."
~ Helen Steiner Rice

Years ago, Chris and I prayed that he would bring us into fellowship with like-minded Christian friends. We are praising Him, for this year...He has answered this prayer! He has placed beautiful families in our path. We have formed a tight-knit friendship with these people and their children and we are so blessed and thankful. I don't think I could ever accurately describe the sweet characters each of these people have...unique and beautiful is each and every soul...and yet, we are bonded with the love of Jesus. We are family.

We attended a first birthday party for one of these couples' son, on Saturday. I got these first couple of pictures, but forgot to get my camera out for the party itself. It was a wonderful time! We were there for five hours! ;)
Getting ready to leave...

You know you live in the country when you get stuck following a tractor! :)

We had a beautiful time of worship and learning at church on well as fellowship. It's beautiful to see the lives God touches (including my own)! Often, I sing to Him through tears....His love for me is overwhelming. He loves you that much too....and wants you to know!

Early Sunday evening, we attended a picnic with family...

Chris and me...


Xavier (he just loves the mini-bike!)...

Jaxson, enjoying some corn on the cob...

My nephew and Madelyn...


Then, to top off the beautiful weekend...Chris was baptized last night! It wasn't planned (in our minds) that he would be...but the Holy Spirit moved upon his heart and I am forever grateful. I have already been baptized, but Chris never had.

Friends of ours and a few others from the church took part in the baptismal service. We were there to help with our friends' children and to watch this beautiful thing take place. We sang praise and worship, tears constantly wetting my cheeks as I prayed, asking the Holy Spirit to move in Chris's heart. As the service was coming to a close, I figured that this night was not to be the night for Chris...I felt maybe I was not righteous enough for my prayers to be heard and I asked forgiveness for any transgressions and continued to pray that the Holy Spirit would move. At the end of the service, there was a time of fellowship and cake...and the next thing I notice is Chris, kneeling at the alter in tears (my tearless man was crying!), surrounded by a few of our friends and our pastor. He knew Jesus and has been growing in his walk...but didn't give it all totally to Him, surrendering *all* ~ until last night. It was beautiful....I wish I had more than pictures to show! I wish you could have been there...or that I had a video to show, but it was all so sudden! Our pastor went and got back into his wet clothes and Chris borrowed a friends clothes (who had been baptized earlier in the night)...and proclaimed Jesus as his Savior...

I love Chris more than the day I married him. I can't even describe how my heart felt last night. My gratefulness is spilling over in abundance! Nothing is impossible for God. He does answer prayers. The Holy Spirit *does* move. He gives, He heals, He loves....He is our everything, truly. This morning, when telling him how much I loved him, I warned Chris that the enemy will attempt to tear at him constantly now...but to remember, always, to rebuke him and focus on Jesus....Joy Unspeakable! :)

Overflowing with love and gratitude this beautiful Monday morning,

"We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand... and melting like a snowflake. Let us use it before it is too late." ~Marie Beyon Ray

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Points to Ponder

 "...the cross is the symbol of Christianity. It marks the dividing line between man's futile efforts to achieve God's righteousness and God's gracious act in sending Christ to redeem all who will follow. It represents the most decisive moment in history, when God answered the great human dilemma that we have all sinned and yearn for forgiveness: God took upon Himself our sins to set us free." 
~ Charles Colson, The Faith

While reading a book, certain phrases will pop out at me...things that make me think and that have me nodding my head in agreement, as if the book's author can see me! Have you ever read something and wanted to be able to exclaim it to those around you? I love to have the chance to share things with you here. It's my time to *exclaim* what I have read to others!

"What we choose really does matter. If we live in an exclusively material world, human life -- including mine and yours -- is absolutely meaningless. No matter how intense our passions, how great our accomplishments, or what side of history we choose, all of this will turn to dust in a universe doomed to extinction....But if there is a personal Creator, if God is, then His creation can reflect His character; it can reveal God's purposes for us. Our lives instantly gain meaning. The world becomes a means of knowing God as well as our dwelling place. We can truly be the reasoning, imaginative, creative persons we believe ourselves to be."
 ~ Charles Colson, The Faith

As is obvious from the quotes I have posted, I am reading The Faith by Charles Colson and Harold Fickett. It's a book about "what Christians believe, why they believe it and why it matters". It's really good...full of great information and explanations. If you are *not* a Christian and want to know what we believe, it's a wonderful source for you to find out! Or maybe, like me, you just enjoy reading good non-fiction books! Either way, it's straight forward and easy to understand....yet, makes you *think*. In this world of political-correctness and "tolerance"...Colson doesn't water the message down.

This quote from the book, although sure to stir up some folks, is one of my favorites....

"Tolerance, falsely defined as putting all propositions on an equal footing -- as opposed to giving ideas an equal hearing -- has replaced truth.....millions acquiesce to the all-beliefs-are-equal doctrine for the sake of bettering their social position in our values-free, offend-no-one culture. But to succumb to this indifference is not to accept a tolerant or liberal view of Christianity; it is to embrace another religion, a belief in some supreme value -- perhaps tolerance -- but not in the God who is and who has spoken."
 ~Charles Colson, The Faith

Jesus instructed Christians to *love*. To not share the Truth and allow someone to feel safe and secure in their wrong beliefs (for tolerance sake) is terribly unloving. Of course, we should be steadfast and firm in the Truth...yet gentle and loving in our speech and manner towards those we are speaking to. Allowing people to believe that "all roads lead to Heaven" is a lie....and we don't lie to those we love. Jesus is the *only* way to Heaven. He loved us, so much, that He took the burden of *our* sins to the cross. I am so thankful for His love for me. Are you? Do you love those around you enough to share the Truth with them?
Along with sharing the Truth...are you living it out?   Just some points to ponder! 

Here at home...
We have kept busy this week, periods of rain and sunshine alternating through the days.

I love this skirt on Madelyn (a great thrift store find!)...

X's much loved guitar, used when we sing worship together (our voices out of *tune* and *melody*, but still singing out in praise and worship to our God, Who loves it, despite our imperfections)...

A stack of dishcloths, ready to be used...

There was a sidewalk sale downtown, yesterday, and I got this fantastic piece for $1! I also found some other great items at that store on sale for $ was a framed picture that had originally been $30!

On the menu for supper, last night, was meatloaf...

...salad, mashed potatoes and corn...

And for after supper...

Last evening, we enjoyed a visit with one of Chris's close friends from high school and met his new fiance! We had a lovely time of conversation and laughter! Good friends are such a blessing...even when you only see them infrequently. It's fun to "catch up" and hear about what has been going on in each one's life. 

Chris went over to his brother, Dan's, house this morning, to change the brakes on Dan's truck. The children and I will spend time with housework, reading and playing. Later, we will be attending a birthday party for our friends' son who is turning one. We look forward to getting together to celebrate with everyone! 

I hope you enjoy your weekend. Thanks, so much, for visiting. There are many who read whom I never hear from (would you want to say *hello* just to introduce yourself? If not, that's okay...either way please know I appreciate you taking the time to stop by. :)


"We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand... and melting like a snowflake. Let us use it before it is too late." ~Marie Beyon Ray

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Only God

At times like these man is is only God Who can speak the words that calm the sea, still the wind, and ease the lean on Him and you will never walk alone.
~Helen Steiner Rice

We all experience difficult times in our lives. Moments of loss, tribulation, fear, frustration, disappointment, discouragement. Each moment pierces our heart, hurt overflowing...and we feel no one can possibly know or understand our pain.The world keeps on turning, lives keep living and there we are...standing alone with a thorn in our heart. We hide the pain. We cry the pain. We scream the pain. Where does true comfort come from? 

Only God. 

The One Who created you is the One Who knows you completely. Only He can ease the pain of the hurt you feel. As the world in the peace of your Father. With Him, you are never alone. He loves you...I know this for certain, as I read it, daily, in His Word. He has a love letter for can hear it HERE

Do Not Be Anxious
Do not be anxious, said our Lord, Have peace from day to day --The lilies neither toil nor spin, Yet none are clothed as they. The meadowlark with sweetest song Fears not for bread or nest Because he trusts our Father's love And God knows what is best.
~Helen Steiner Rice

I write what is on my I feel God leads. He led me to these two poems yesterday...but I didn't realize why until I began to type today. Is this post for you? I hope you find words of comfort and warmth here. :)

I have some photos to share, from days past. 

Some (not all) books purchased at our library's annual book sale...

Dr. Madelyn, attending to the wounded Xavier (who scraped his knee while playing out back)...

Many of our window stars have faded with time, so I spent some time making some more (I only finished two, for now, though!)...

Madelyn, helping Jaxson read...

Puppet shows...

I tried THIS recipe for Bacon Cheeseburger Roll Ups for supper, one evening. It was good! (I left out the onions and used homemade pizza dough, though!)...

Miss Madelyn...

Jaxson, helping in the kitchen...

And, I am so excited, I recently saw THIS trailer (about the problems with feminism) and looked into buying it. Fortunately, I found that this was a DVD offered from Netflix (which we have instead of television). I can't wait until it arrives! I really look forward to watching it!

Thank you for visiting me today. I have a list of things I would like to accomplish so I best get started! :)
I hope your Wednesday is a good one!


"We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand... and melting like a snowflake. Let us use it before it is too late." ~Marie Beyon Ray

Monday, June 20, 2011

Counting Memories...

We had a nice Father's Day...did you? Chris loved his gifts from the children. He got two. One was tickets for him and the boys to go to a Pirates baseball game in July (along with other men from the family) and the other gift was a ticket for Chris to attend Promise Keepers in August with some other Christian friends of ours! He is really looking forward to both events. Chris has been to PK once before, and I just love when he comes home, the fire newly stoked in his heart.  

Yesterday, at church, I was blessed to talk to a good friend and sister-in-Christ...her heart spilling over with joy as the Holy Spirit does His work in her and her family's life. It's a *beautiful* thing to witness. They are newer Christians and the more she learns, the fuller her heart gets. Seeing them grow in their faith is just fantastic and it can easily move me to tears if I linger too long talking about it! ;)

**Here at Home**

Rolls, fresh from the oven...

I love to find ways to repurpose things...we used up some parmesan cheese, so I washed it out and made it into a baking soda shaker for use when cleaning (or any of the many other uses for baking soda)! :)

We had one of our favorite meals the other night...hamburger stroganoff over homemade noodles...

Truly, if you like egg noodles...if you haven't already, you should try making your own. They are not difficult to make and they taste so much better than the ones you buy at the store!

After much time at play, sometimes even the children who "aren't tired" fall asleep...

Jaxson isn't in these photos. He had been with his Grammie at the time....but if he *had* been home, he would've slept too...he is a good sleeper. Naps are a common thing for him!

Outside, clothes dry on the line...(a friend is giving me her old clothesline, as doesn't work for her family as it isn't in a good place to hang clothes out. I am really excited because I will have double the room to hang out laundry! What a blessing!)...

The chicks are still a bit nervous around people. They are quite fond of running and "hiding" in this corner of the run...

Aren't they growing nicely? I think they are just getting prettier by the day!

Have you ever watched the movie Luther? It is a wonderful movie. Chris and I watched it, for the second time, over the weekend. I completely recommend it!  It helps explain the Reformation...of course, one would want to explore and learn more about it than a two-hour movie...but it gives the general idea and is also just an enjoyable movie to watch.

Another movie I highly recommend is America's Godly Heritage by David Barton from WallBuilders. His knowledge of our country's founding fathers and the truth about their beliefs and our Constitution are amazing. There is *so* much that has been erased from our history textbooks that shouldn't have been. Children are completely lacking in their education of history! This movie explains so much and is a wonderful education for your children (as well as yourselves!). If you have Netflix, you can get this movie for is one of the streaming movies. You could also check your library for it. If not, I completely recommend purchasing it at the link above. You will learn *so* much.

For example, did you know that there is no mention of "separation of church and state" in the Constitution? If you were not aware of this, please read HERE or HERE. You will gain such insight and knowledge! *The only way to get our country back to the Christian nation it was started as is to educate people about the truth! :) We need to teach our children the truth, even if the schools don't (or won't). As a homeschooling mother, I have complete control over this....but even if your children are in public school, you can teach them these things at home, as well!


Chris, mowing the lawn on Saturday (I love to see all the green, don't you? I love all the trees!)...

The children's clubhouse, in the woods...

Chris would like to make the children a wood clubhouse sometime...but this building was a Christmas gift for the boys, from Ma and Pa. Chris helped them put it together a couple weeks ago. It's made from a strong, waterproof foam material. It won't last forever but it is fun for now!

Today will hold treasures unseen. Times spent reading and playing with the children (we're planning on playing some Bingo here in a bit), devotions, housework, bread baking, and maybe some gardening, later on. Simple moments...each one a treasure that I intend to keep close to my heart. Times like these may seem mundane or boring to most, but truly, this is what life is made of...the *everyday* moments. 

I know this post was full of random-ness....lots of jumping from one thing to another. I hope you didn't mind following along with me. :) Thank you for visiting and if you haven't yet, you may enjoy checking out  THIS recipe I posted for a really healthy carrot cake. I hope you enjoy your Monday. 


"We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand... and melting like a snowflake. Let us use it before it is too late." ~Marie Beyon Ray