Friday, May 28, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
We were very excited about hosting the 5 families that we love so much at our house for a "welcome summer" party. I didn't get very many pictures. Only a few of the kids swimming. But it was a fun night. Andy's smoked chicken and homemade bbq sauce were big hits!
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
For the bookworm (Jaybird, age 9):
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
These are good times!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
No one can ever pray enough. Dwight Moody commented that (paraphrasing) besides the sheer glory of Christ, he believes he will be most surprised in heaven at how he made so little use of the power of prayer. (He habitually prayed for 2 hours every morning, and then throughout the day.) I could never achieve any level of "faithfulness" on this earth that would make me worthy of God's love and acceptance. This is certainly not about earning his good graces. That was all accomplished by Jesus on my behalf. But now as a believer, I have come to believe that prayer is essential for peace in this life. And somehow, mysteriously, God's providence includes answering our petitions. In my life, I can know about God just fine apart from prayer. But I can have no vital, living relationship without prayer. And I want to know and glorify Him more than anything else.
*Some verses regarding prayer:
I Thes. 5:16-18-James 5:16-Ephesians 6:18-Phil. 4:6-7
Our pastor preached on our unwillingness to pray, specifically for the lost. We are not only to pray for those handful that cross our own paths, but for those around the world. Jesus says to pray, "Thy kingdom come" first and foremost (before our daily bread, even!).
So the kids and I extended our breakfast time this morning around the table and came up with a new system. If God has been moving you to pray as well, maybe you will find something useful, too. We chose seven topics for prayer, one for each day. I took some time explaining to the children that we are to pray continually. We should talk to our Father through out the day about everything. These 7 topics are people/events that we want to make sure we do not forget. They are certainly not supposed to replace a habit of praying "without ceasing". We decided to spend a little time after breakfast each morning for "the seven". Ours were:
SUNDAY- Church leaders
~including our pastor, staff, elders, deacons, Sunday school teachers
~we have a little world map and will write their names across all six continents that they span(we know no one who lives in Antarctica!?!)
TUESDAY- "Things on the news"- World issues
~currently Haiti victims, oil spill, flood victims in Nashville, tornado victims in Oklahoma, No*th Korea, Ir*q/Afgha*istan wars (the list could go on and on)
WEDNESDAY- Government leaders
~excellent sight here with pictures of national government officials (we have to find pictures of our own state officials since we do not live in California)
~our own personal friends
~this site has an unreached people group a day to lift up in prayer
~extended family's needs/salvation
~first, for the needs of our small groups whom we have given a commitment to being in pray for (Home Fellowship Group at church, Sunday school small groups, teenage discipleship groups, homeschool support group)
Because my thoughts are always drifting towards the salvation of my children, their needs, and my husband's as well, I do not have them on the list. We tend to find time plenty of time to pray for our needs! Here is a daily prayer list of spiritual blessings for my children that I keep on the frig and use frequently.One other thought...The importance of forgiveness before prayer was brought up to me this weekend. (Mark 11:25) Not only does forgiveness unlock God's work in our lives, but it destroys bitterness. And bitterness defiles all those around us. God inhabits the praises of His people, and the Enemy flees when we praise Him. What a way to start the day with the kids!
"How can one family affect anything? One person battling away to put selfish interests aside, to put other people before himself or herself, even for a fraction of the time, day by day, how could that help? ...One family and the children of that family can do marvelous things to affect the world or devastating things to destroy it." Edith Schaefer, What is a Family
"I have held many things in my hands and lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands that I still possess." ~Martin Luther
Monday, May 17, 2010
My big area of doubt for next year was our math curriculum. I was determined to make a choice over the course of the weekend because I figured it would be easiest to figure it out with all of the books right there in front of me. I hate trying to pick something based on the one sample from a website! So after a day of bouncing around thoughts, I wrote down the things that I have observed with my reluctant mathematician (J), and determined from that list the 6 MUST-HAVES for our choice. Even though there were some fabulous choices, and one that I personally would have enjoyed more, I was able to choose what will be best for my son.
My list for him included:
Visual worksheets for practice (lots of color, absolutely not in black and white)
Hands-on lesson plans (uses manipulatives)
Short (30 minutes or less) lessons & easy for me to prepare
Drilling of math facts, not just skip counting
Spiral approach (lots of review)
And our pick:
Horizons math We are making several changes next year. But another big one is that we are adding the Institute for Excellence in Writing curriculum for my oldest son. I have always heard that this writing curriculum is top notch. But frankly, it just looked too complicated to learn to teach. The author of the curriculum was at the conference. After hearing him speak and spending a lot of time with the representative at his booth I am confident that it will be much easier than I imagined. And we felt very convicted that it would be a mistake to not buy this set for our oldest son who seems to have a future in writing. We also reasoned that most children, no matter the field, need a strong foundation in at least technical writing, if not creative writing. I hope it was a good investment! I am SO excited about our study of explorers and founding fathers next year through My Father's World. There is SO much to read and do in regards to this time period. And this summer will be fun because our last history time period leaves off before the Renaissance, so we will study the Renaissance and Reformation this summer in order to be ready for explorers in the fall. The Renaissance/Reformation is my favorite time period, so it should be good times. We will kick-off our study by going to the Georgia Renaissance festival in June. Oh, and I am so ready for Botany next year! We are going to be on a farm, for Pete's sake. What subject could be more fun? There will be plenty of time for hands-on experiments! And I think that out of all the areas of science, I am the most ignorant about botany. (And that's pretty bad!) So we should learn a lot together!
Lastly, I am VERY excited about the encouragement I found in pressing forward with our prayer/devotion time together. I heard again and again that the spiritual growth, time together with God learning from His word and praying, the times we stop everything to work on character issues- this is the part of our "lifestyle" that is the most rewarding. I know it has been for me, personally. And towards the end of the school year it is so easy just to press forward and overlook all the real issues with a simple of goal of GETTING DONE! I was so very convicted to take a breath, look around, and enjoy. To stop and put our pursuit of God as our top priority again. I am thanking God for the encouragement I found. It is vital for me in continuing this difficult, busy, but beautiful calling!
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
Friday, May 07, 2010
On Friday morning, after another almost sleepless night, I trudged out of bed. Defeated. I said to myself, "I absolutely can not home school any more." Before breakfast I had already imagined the daily one-hour trek I was willing to take when we move to the farm to get the kids to the school of my choice. Christian, classical, small. Case-closed. I had just told my friend yesterday how much I love home schooling. But no matter, today was different. I. WAS. DONE.
Then our morning turned around. In my sleepiness I had nothing to say, no complete sentences to form. So I listened. I listened to J rattle off his list of books that he wants, mostly pertaining to things in history that he wants to explore deeper. I listened to my three children laughing and playing together in the other room while I got dressed. My girl told me with arms wrapped around my neck and lips two centimeters from my ear that "when you are a Grand mommy and I am a Mommy we will call you Pretty Pumpkin". And over lunch the children decided to talk about grown-up times and tell me again of all their hopes and dreams. Toot added that I should be "an artist when I grow up". They have no idea that these are the days of my adulthood. We're just coasting along together, dreaming and learning.
I can't do it. I can't walk away from this home school lifestyle, from all this time together. Sometimes trying to balance house work, being a help mate to Andy, bills, and the stresses of living in a broken world- they all seem just impossible to juggle with the full time job of educator- at home, with no time alone, or "benefits". On the bad days I think I might be insane and regret all that I have taken on. I think one day I might wonder if I might have been able to be a better Mom with more time alone to regroup. I think about how if they were in a classroom they wouldn't still be waiting on their teacher to get the day started at 9:30. (On those days we have a sick day. Like Friday.)
But deep down I feel called. I can rest in that truth. God's guidance is certain and steady. He will equip me. And because this is what He has chosen, I see good results. On most days I am fulfilled, albeit exhausted and sometimes ready to quit. Isn't everyone? I need to continue to be realistic with my expectations. Following Christ, developing lasting relationships, sacrificing to make His name great (beginning here at home)-will often times lead me to physical discomfort. It's not always pretty and certainly not easy. It's an endless cycle of getting a little too independent and then coming back to the same question, "What do I expect from this life of mine?" And then my mind leaves that question and thinks ahead to heaven.
Thursday, May 06, 2010
#1-Be a good steward of my body.
~Much improvement this month. Stay the course.
#2-Rely on God's word and prayer first thing.
~I absolutely do not do this first thing. But I rely more and more on Him.
#3-Mentor and be mentored.
~Mentoring, yes. My sweet friend that agreed to mentor me is still waiting on a coffee date. Time to call Michele!
#4-Spend more time alone with Andy.
~Yes, but can always use even more time with my best friend.
#5-Spend more time outside.
~No. But very much looking forward to this during the summer.
#6-Do more science. Flex when there are teachable moments.
~Yes. We have finally begun to enjoy science. And I think I am flexing more and more.
#7-Continue with artistic outlets.
~Yes! Praise God I have had time to paint two pieces just this month. Writing a lot!
#8-Spend regular time with friends alone.
~No. Did well with this in the winter. What happened this spring? Again, ready for summer!
#9-Read for pleasure daily.
~Yes. I have absolutely found my love for reading again. On my 9th book for the year, which is good for me since I struggle with keeping my eyes open at night!
#10-Host people in our home more often.
~We have hosted some, but would love to more.
Sure does help to see this written out. I know exactly what areas need focus and prayer. Also I can see that the spring is a time to extend grace to myself and realize some things I love must be put on hold. Summer will be a whole new season.
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Still truckin' along.
Determined? Stubborn? Either way, came in handy this week! ALL things can be used for good or harm. I can think of about a million things God can use a strong-willed Lydie to do (besides occasionally test my patience). May this be the first of many!
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
In science we are loving our astronomy experiments! Learning about lava on Venus, as well as making a model of Olympus Mons from Mars. The guys added their own Martians on their Mars model.
Our artist this month was Monet and we studied his paintings of his lily pond. We read some fabulous books. My favorite was Linnea in Monet's Garden (Schactner).
Sunday, May 02, 2010
I love J for noticing that his new Nintendo magazine had pictures of animated girls that were inappropriately dressed and pointing it out to me. I love even more that he asked to tear out the pages on the way to our church group before showing it to his friends because "he didn't want Will and Wesley looking at things like that".
This morning Lydie's Sunday school teacher asked her what her favorite thing was about her Mommy. According to her teacher, her quick response was, "My Mommy is never boring!!"