Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Because I Like To Pretend Everyone Cares About This

We are almost ready to begin the 2008-2009 school year around here! After the homeschool organization Keepin' It Real event I began to dream again of a school room. In fact, that very day I jumped up and started moving things around in the front room (the room formerly known as "home office", "classroom", and "playroom") I decided that having everything in one room was worth it if we just had a table. Well, as you know, we found a table for $20 and we are set.

This will be my second year of homeschooling and I feel like I learned so much last year--and still have so much to learn! Last year Sweetheart had just finished up 1st grade at a private school where they used ABeka curriculum. So, we stayed with that last year for 2nd--adding in other stuff as we went to spice things up. This year I am branching out and trying new things. Some may work and others may get abandoned--who knows? But I'm excited about trying all these new things. We have so many choices in front of us as homeschoolers!

So here is my very rough plan for our school year:

Sweetheart (3rd grade)
Bible (various things--mostly, you know, The Bible)
Copywork/dictation
All About Spelling--Level 1 (we didn't do anything for spelling last year)
Reading--I plan for her to read a lot! I have the ABeka 3rd grade readers that we will use, but not all the time.

Little Bit (Pre-K)
I will do themes with her (we are starting with "All About Me" and then "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" for example) so we will read books together on the theme and do activities to go with the theme.
I will also choose math and literacy activities for her each day. Most of them will come from the internet. I especially am in love with this site. This woman has EXCELLENT ideas for pre-k kiddos.
She will make lapbooks for her themes at least some of the time. She will also join us for Bible and join us for History and Astronomy whenever she wants to. And I will read to her a lot.

That's pretty much our plan.

Now, about that school room! Let's go around the room, shall we?
Here's the beginning of our bookshelves and our recycling crate. (Got that idea from Carissa!) Oh, and the trash can. Glamorous.

I'm not sure you can tell, but these shelves are labeled folks. I am so organized I almost can't stand myself!


Ok, that's the end of the shelves. Here we have our world map and some drawers with my stuff on top.

See? Even these are labeled! This is all of our different kinds of paper and materials for lapbooks and notebooking. Uh, they are mostly empty because I don't know really what to put in there. I'm not afraid to admit it.

Moving around the room some more, we have our white board and calendar. See our totally awesome table we got for $20!!!!! I love it and it fits just right.

This is Little Bit's desk from last year. I'm not sure how much she'll use it now that we have the big table to spread out on, but she's not ready to get rid of it. In the drawers next to her desk are crayons, art junk, and coloring books that the girls are always allowed to get into. She does like to sit at her desk and "do art."

Those crates on the floor hold their notebooks, books, school boxes, and backpacks when not in use. (I got that idea from Elle!)

We are planning to use these cubes for our library books. That stadium chair is just sitting there needing to be returned to my sister, but it looks like the girls plan to use it for a reading corner.

Well, that's our school room--scrubbed up and ready to use. Now if I just knew what we were going to DO in there, we'd be ready.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

In Between

I don't know how to really describe the place where we are right now except to say: it's not where we will be. S and I both truly feel that the place we are in life is very temporary. We just aren't sure what's going to happen to usher us into the next phase of our life...whatever that will be.

We both have realized how cool it is that we are, for the most part, able to get up and go whenever the time comes. Homeschooling is able to go with us wherever we choose to go, with no concerns for school calendars or holidays. That's nice.

And I don't even know that our next step will require moving. Maybe it will just be that we will be doing something different right here where we are. So we pray. And wait.

And in the meantime...what does God want from us?

To trust and to walk with Him. Because we believe that He determines our steps.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Getting Ready for that First Day

The first day of school is a big deal for us every year. Sweetheart is SO excited to start the new year and loves picking out her new backpack and school supplies. She practically breaks out in a cold sweat on the school supply aisle during this time of year.

She's been lamenting the things she's missing out on not "going" to school anymore and I want her to know that homeschooling is special. I know she enjoys homeschooling (and it's not really open for discussion anyway), but it's important to her that the first day be really special. She still remembers that first day last year!

I've read some good ideas of things families do to make the first day of school special for their kiddos. (take pictures, special meal, cool activity) Now I need some ideas from you!

What do you do in your family for the first day of school?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

More To See

I just wanted to let you know that several more people have added to our last Keepin' It Real Event. There are lots more homeschool spaces to check out. Just click here to see them.
(A few folks didn't link directly to their KIR post, so you might have to do some scrolling down on their blogs to find them.) All the entries were GREAT!

Just wanted to let you know in case you hadn't checked back in on the Mr. Linky in a while!

Also, here's a cute KIR post that Terry found.

Also, how many of you want to do an update on your classroom? I know several people have already posted their cleaned up versions! Let me know!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Speaking of Schedules

Whether you homeschool or not, we all have to deal with a myriad of things on our to-do list each day. But this is the time of year when homeschool moms are setting their schedules (however loosely) for the year, making goals and lists of things that need to be done (if only mentally). For each of us there is also work, house stuff, family schedules, etc. to keep up with. Often mom ends up being the keeper of the master schedule.

It can get to be quite exhausting. Yesterday I hit on how we need to ask the Lord and our husbands before we jump into our year...or days. This morning I remembered an article I found at Tiany's Homeschool Lounge page some time ago. I copied and pasted the article into a Word document and saved it on my computer. Tiany didn't write it, but had shared it as an encouragement. Now I'd like to do the same. (You can save it to read later if you like!)

God and Your Schedule
by Martha Matthews
“How can I be better organized”?
“How can I use my time more wisely?”
“What new technique can I use to bring some balance into my life?”

These are some of the questions I ask myself as I pour over my “To Do” list. In a typical day I can have a list of at least ten tasks that need to accomplished; each just as important as the next. Sometimes I get overwhelmed because there is so much to do. At other times I am frustrated and just plain mad. I am tired of being the chauffeur, cook and laundry maid. I want to have some fun! If this scenario sounds familiar then let me share with you what God has been teaching me about schedules.

1. What’s at the Top of Your “To Do” List?
Luke 10:38-42 Have you ever had a day where you felt that everything depended on you? Martha was having that kind of day. She had invited Jesus and his twelve disciples over for dinner. That meant she had a lot of preparations to make. Because of all the work involved with entertaining this large group of people, Martha was very upset that her sister Mary wasn’t helping her. In Martha’s mind taking care of her guests was more important than listening to Jesus teach—she could listen to Jesus later. She felt perfectly content with putting the Lord at the bottom of her list of priorities. The result of that decision was that she led a “worried and upset” life.Martha was focused on the details of the dinner and not on the One for whom she was making dinner. Martha was like many of us. We have our schedules set up for the day, week, month, and year. We work so hard at being organized and productive, but where is God on our list of priorities? Shouldn’t our relationship with Him be at the top of our list? When was the last time you got up early in the morning just to spend some quality time with God? Are you distracted by all the things you need to do?Mary had her priorities straight. She understood that a relationship with the Lord was the most important thing. That is why she was sitting at the Lord’s feet soaking up his every word. It reminds me of the scripture that says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21). Where is your heart?

2. Pray About Your Schedule
Psalm 143:8 “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” (NIV) As I have been growing in the area of relying on God, he has shown me that I need to go to Him each day for help with my schedule. As I pray, I humbly acknowledge that it is His day and not mine. I ask Him to rearrange or clear my schedule so that I can do what He wants me to do. I can’t tell you how many times I have prayed like this and God has moved mountains from my schedule. I have had appointments be rescheduled and deadlines extended. I have found ways to do a job faster, found that I could put a job off to another day and had a friend call offering to watch my son for an afternoon. All these things have happened AFTER I have prayed. I am learning that I need to do this every day and not just when things get crazy. It is His schedule, not mine. No matter how efficient I make my schedule, I have to remember that He is in control and I am not.

3. Pray Throughout the Day
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”Our day rarely goes the way we thought it would. Emergencies come up, appointments get cancelled, people let us down and plans change. It can be very challenging to meet the needs of your family when things get tossed up in the air. You think you have everything covered and then it all falls apart. That is why I love the scripture referenced above. It shows me how to handle every change in my schedule—pray continually!When a challenge comes my way, I stop and ask God for direction. I ask Him how He wants me to handle things. He always provides an answer.

4. Don’t Rely on Yourself
Jeremiah 17:5-8 When things are going well with my schedule and I am able to accomplish all my chores, errands and appointments, I tend to drift away from depending on God. Just like the Israelites, I become self-reliant and prideful. “I have it all covered. No need to worry. I am in control.”It is easy for me to drift away from depending on God when I am not spending time with Him each day. God in His infinite wisdom always brings me back to Him using a little bit of chaos to show me my need. I’ll be cruising along with “my” agenda leading the way and something will happen that throws me off track. God makes it very clear that I am being self-reliant and not God-reliant. When I come to my senses I get down on my knees and pray for Him to lead the way.When I take my schedule to God in prayer every day, I am like the tree planted by the stream. My load is lightened because God is taking care of all the details. I am free from worry. When I rely on myself I become frustrated and impatient. Then I am that bush in the wasteland. I won’t see any prosperity coming my way even if it is delivered to my doorstep in a gift wrapped package. All I see is the insurmountable obstacles in my way. I don’t see God because I am not praying. I am not praying because I am too busy trying to fix things myself. Does this sound familiar to you?

5. Don’t Worry About What People Think
Hebrews 13:6 “So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”It is easy to get caught up in what other people think about how we use our time. “Am I doing the right thing? What will my friends think? Will they approve?” You only need to worry about what God thinks. You only need His approval. Do what is right and leave the details up to God.Now I don’t want you to think that you don’t need to be organized or have a schedule. The point I am trying to make is that we need God’s direction. Schedules, agendas and “To Do” lists are just tools to help us be good stewards with our time. Let God decide what tasks are most important.

More scripture to meditate on:
Psalm 37:8
Psalm 55:16-18
Psalm 88:13
Psalms 119:105
Psalm 143:10
Proverbs 3:5-6
Proverbs 14:12
Proverbs 15:19
Matthew 7:7-8
Mark 3:34-35
2 Corinthians 8:5
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Ephesians 5:15-16
Philippians 4:6-7

Have a great weekend everybody!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Just a Little Sermon Before School Starts

The things we are doing (or learning to do) seem so novel to us. Homeschooling, frugal living, being family-centered (not running in 100 different directions but putting family first)...heck, even breastfeeding used to feel novel...these things used to just be a way of life. They were normal.

I went to the Abeka materials display today to get Sweetheart's math book. There was a mom sitting at the table with an order form. As soon as I sat down she started asking me questions. Do you use this or that? Have you found this to be helpful? Should I order these? I answered her questions and she quickly got into a conversation with a more experienced homeschool mom so I finished up my business and left. I thought about her later. She was feeling so overwhelmed and like she couldn't possibly be the best teacher for her child. She said everyone around her had been very negative about her decision. Why? Because it's not normal. Normal people just send their kids to school. Or preschool. Right? (Sarcasm here)

If we could just travel back in time and watch a family from long ago operating...I think we would be in shock. Our culture is so very, very different than how things used to be. It's silly to think that parents cannot teach their children. I suspect that most people's concerns are upper level math or science, preparing them for college. etc. Then you have to ask yourself...do they really need to go to college? Why? Ah, I like challenging all this.

I guess my point is, as many of us are preparing to begin the homeschool year, that we don't need all the bells and whistles. Teaching your kids can just be part of life. And don't get all stressed out about pushing them forward with the academics. Their character and faith in the Lord are more important. I'm talking to myself here too.

And don't forget (me too) to ask God what he wants from your family. Ask Him to make your goals clear. We women can get very sidetracked trying to do all manner of really good things for our families and doing none of it well. Our husbands can help in this area too. My husband recently asked me to stop doing laundry at home. Our washer is just horrible and it was taking up all of my time trying to keep up. He went with me to the laundromat Monday night and I have been able to keep on top of all the housework this week since that laundry burden is off my shoulders. So, our husbands really can be helpful--ask them what things they would like you to focus on this year. Most of all, pray.

There is no prize for being "BEST HOMESCHOOLING MOM." There is no medal for "CLEANEST HOUSE." There are no accolades for "MOST AWESOME WIFE EVER." Take the pressure off and lean on the Lord. His goals are the only ones that matter.

Dear Mr. UPS Driver,

Please hurry and come to our house. I can't listen to "SHHH!! I think I hear a truck coming!" any more today. We need that package with the miniature American Girl Doll to come really soon. We are tired of waiting and I might lose my mind if we have to wait all day.

Thank you so much,

The Mommy

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Where To Turn

I haven't slept well lately. It's probably because my schoolroom is a wreck. I've pulled a bunch of stuff out and everything is all in a jumble on the floor. I never rest well when my classroom is like that. It happened every year that I taught.

Also each year I had a "back to school nightmare." One year the nightmare was that I was driving to school and realized it was the first day of school and I had forgotten to go prepare my classroom. When I showed up there was a room full of students (all ages, from all years I had taught all jumbled together) and me with no copies made, no books on the shelf, nothing.

Another year I dreamed that instead of sending the class to P.E. at 11:30 in the morning, I sent them home. Waved good-bye to everyone on the front porch of the school and got in my car and drove off. Then I realized my mistake and rushed back to school searching out my window for students that I could not locate.

Thankfully, none of those dreams ever actually came true. And I was ever so grateful to wake up! But every year whenever I start working on my classroom, I never sleep well until there is order. Maybe that's why I haven't been sleeping.

Or, maybe it's money concerns. I've been very convicted of our lack of discipline in the area of budgeting and how we haven't been the best stewards of the money we've been given. I'm working on that. Maybe that's why I haven't been sleeping.

Or maybe it's a dozen other little things like how we aren't exactly satisfied in the life we have right now. And how S would really like to be in ministry or missions but how will that come together? We feel so "in between" things right now in a lot of areas. We don't feel settled, I guess. Maybe that's why I haven't been sleeping.

Or, maybe it was the thunderstorms last night and the musical beds we had to play to get the two little girls back to sleep.

Anyway, through all of it one thing remains a firm, constant, solid part of our lives--Jesus Christ. We have a Savior to turn to. No matter what looms on the horizon for our country or our lives...we have a place to turn. A solid rock to cling to. And knowing that makes all the difference.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Success!

For months, Little Bit has been trying to learn one more letter in her name (which, obviously is not actually "Little Bit".) She could write all the other letters except just one of them. So, I always had to help her with that letter, and then she could do the rest.

Apparently at some point in time, I told her she could have her own library card when she could write her name all by herself.

And after tracing the letter, making the letter with popsicle sticks, and practicing the letter--I let it go. It just wasn't time. She wasn't frustrated yet. It just wasn't happening, that's all.

Then last week at Grandma's...she got it. It just happened. And the first thing she said was, "NOW I CAN GET MY OWN LIBRARY CARD!" Which she did, the following day.
She has conquered the letter K! Wonder what she will do next?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My Saturday

The kitchen faucet came off in my hand last night and we haven't had time to fix it. So....I have a sink full of dirty dishes and no running water.

I got the table for the schoolroom on Friday and it needs to be sanded a bit before we can use it. I think I should get husband's opinion/help on that matter so it's leaning against the wall of our living room with no legs on it.

The schoolroom? I don't even want to talk about it. It's bad in there.

My washing machine spits when it's draining. And by "spits" I mean a gallon at the least. You have to tear through the house to catch it and if you don't, you have to move the washer and dryer and mop behind them. Then you have to let it rest before you turn it back on. This happens twice during every load. I am constantly aware of what cycle my washer is on. I can't tell you how many times I forget to go turn it back on. I think I average 1 load a day. We're thinking of going to the laundromat because we are so behind.

And money is a constant, constant source of concern for me. I'm not moving into "worry" because I trust the Lord. BUT, I'm concerned. OK?

Now, having said all of that...I have a wonderful husband whom I have been married to for 15 years (last Thursday!), 2 beautiful, healthy daughters, a home to live in, the freedom to worship, and so, so many other blessings.

How are you feeling blessed this weekend?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Just Add "Author" To My Resume'

So last year Sweetheart wanted an American Girl doll for her birthday. Over my dead body was I spending $90 for a doll for my about-to-turn 8 year old. Not MY 8 year old anyway. I knew the first day I saw the doll laying face down on the floor in her bedroom half buried under junk I would want to yell and scream at her.

I wanted a doll she could play with and me not worry about how "expensive" it was. So, I found the "Today's Girl" doll. For the same money as an American Girl doll, I could get the same size doll, 3 outfits, and a brass bed for the doll. She was delighted and we have since added many items to Sara's world.

Well, she knew it wasn't a real American Girl doll. Even though everywhere we go people compliment her on her American Girl doll or say things like "my daughter has an American Girl doll too." It doesn't help that my niece has a "real one." Also my sister is insanely creative and every time my niece's doll gets something new, Sweetheart looks at me expectantly. Keeping up with the cousins can be hard work! :) Thanks to my dumb creative sister.

Then the Kit Kittredge movie came out. We went straight to the library to check out the Kit books. We are on book number 3 and loving it. We went to see the movie yesterday and loved it. American Girls are pretty cool. I believe I would have liked them when I was little.

The girls have been earning money for chores this summer and I put my foot down and told them they were saving their money for something good. Every time they get $2 in their hand they want to scurry off to the dollar store for some junk. They know it's junk, but they want a toy rightthatveryminute. No more. They need to learn to save up money for something they want. So, today was the big day. Little Bit bought herself a Dora Lego set and Sweetheart ordered a mini Kit doll. I was very proud of them. The mini dolls are a great compromise. She can collect them, have "real" American Girl dolls, and still have space in her room to sleep. (How many 18" dolls can you own? I say one is enough.)

So what's the problem? Sound like we maneuvered ourselves around all the marketing without giving in all the way, huh? (Or not). The problem is, Sara doesn't come with a book.

So guess what I'm writing now?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Inspiration and Answered Prayers

I just had so much fun looking at all the participant's of our last Keepin' It Real event! Thanks so much to everyone who took pictures, downloaded them, inserted them (ug), and shared your storage solutions with us.

I was so inspired that day as I kept checking in, that I started clearing out our front room THAT VERY DAY. The girls helped me clear everything off our enormous black shelves and move them and put everything back on. I think they earned the money they did not earn earlier for all those days they didn't get their chores done. They worked hard.

So, just to keep you all entertained, I'm turning that front room back into a school room. I just really want everything in one spot. And our dining room--which I suppose is technically an eat-in kitchen--just doesn't have the space. We didn't enjoy being in the front room last year but I think I've tweaked the one thing that will make all the difference.

We are adding a table to that room. That's one thing I loved about the kitchen is that we could spread out and I was right there by each girl, able to help both at once many times. Hey, I can do "this is the number 8--Sissy is 8! Can you count to 8?" and "no, no, you need to carry it to the tens place first" at the same time. I'm talented that way.

So I've decided a table will make all the difference. BUT I'm giving myself permission to work all over the house and not feel obligated to work in there just because we worked so hard fixing it up. The main thing is we have one room to store things in. That will be worth it all.

So, I headed off to Salvation Army in search of a table. Do you know those people wanted $129 for a rickety, small breakfast nook table and 2 chairs??? It almost fell over when I put my hand on it! Then we went to some place that had "value" and "furniture" in the title and the cheapest thing they had was over $300. WalMart did not have what we needed. I was deflated.

Then I remembered something I read during the KIR event. Someone, somewhere talked about how a lady prayed for bookshelves or something like that. So I prayed. I prayed for a table.

And my answered prayer? A table for $20 that I'm picking it up from my friend Leah on Friday. God is good! And thanks everyone for the inspiration. Hope you got some good ideas as well!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

File This Under: Things I've Never Done Before

Soon I will be the parent of a 9 year old.

This is new territory for me. I am a little nervous. I know from my college degree that "early childhood" ends at the age of 8. According to the experts, anyway. So I feel like we are entering an new era--and I'm not sure I like it.

I want to have the right expectations for her. Let me establish a few things first.

1. I am raising a daughter. This is different from raising a son. My goal is to have a godly young woman in the end. If you are raising a son, then your goal is to have a godly young man at the end. This may seem obvious, but our society mostly speaks about raising "kids" and the lines have been severely blurred. This all came to my attention about 2 years ago and it was eye-opening. SO, I am raising a daughter.

2. I want her to remain a child as long as she can. I don't want a silly, irresponsible, immature young lady...so I know there is important training that needs to go on now. However, I want her to play with her doll and her dollhouse, and her horses as long as she wants to. I know she isn't nearly through playing with toys, but I know 9 year olds who are. And they concern me. So, allowing her to have a childhood is important to me.

3. At the same time, 9 should bring with it more responsibility. School time will change a bit. Chores, expectations, etc. also. The bar should be raising a bit each year, right?

4. How do I encourage her to become a young lady while letting her still be a child? She's already nine and yet, she's only nine. You know?

So these are the questions running through my head tonight. I googled all sorts of things about 9 year olds and 3rd graders...and the information that I found was so totally not based on God's word or even godly thinking that it was unreal! I do NOT have the world's or society's view of raising our daughter. I need godly advice. I need biblical advice.

Can any of you with 9+ year old daughters give me some advice? I'd really appreciate it!

And may I just say that I am SO HAPPY we decided to homeschool? I feel like she is being given an extension on her childhood--and protection from many, many things I feel she is too young for. And I don't care if she "looks like" the other 3rd graders around here--I expect she will be different because of being homeschooled. I don't know...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Keepin' It Real: Homeschool Organization

Welcome! Today we are sharing our homeschool storage solutions (or need for solutions in my case). Last year, before I began homeschooling, I could only imagine what things I would need and what I might then do with them. I had this cute little idea...ha! I just remembered this...to buy boxes with handles for the girls. All their school work for that day could just go in the box and they would carry it to the dining room table each day and then carry it back to our home office when school was over.

I think we all know THAT would have happened!

But in the end it really bugged me to store my stuff in one room and work in the other. They weren't even adjacent rooms. We would have been walking through the front entryway, the living room, the kitchen, and into the dining room each day with our little plastic boxes and then in reverse order afterwards. It just bugged me, OK? So I converted our home office into a classroom.
Which we used for 2 weeks before we found out we hated being in there. It felt so secluded from the rest of the house. So we moved into the dining room where there was a window. And we hung a bird feeder outside and enjoyed the view. Here's our dining room right now. It's usually the best looking room in the house. But wait. What's that on the kitchen cabinet to the right?Oh, it's my fruit bowl. Shall we examine the contents of the fruit bowl together? (This is a Keepin' It Real post). OK, we have: 2 red potatoes, one orange, a harmonica, a stapler, a small container of Play-Doh, an orange marker, bananas, an orange pencil, and a spring. I think it's time to move on.

So here is where we usually sit. We are like little old ladies in church who have our pews marked out. It really throws us off to switch seats. I don't know why. And where we sit for school has nothing to do with where we sit for eating.
Here is where I HAD a three tiered cart. It was old and I may have overloaded it and it cracked and I threw it away. The end.And that is why I need your help! I need a storage solution for next year. Where is all the stuff from last year you say? The stuff that used to be on that cart?

Remember my new sewing room/home office?
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Literally.There's a pretty tall stack that hasn't fallen over yet.
And what about that lovely classroom? Well, we still have the shelves. Boy, did we need shelves!
They aren't too bad. They just need a little straightening.

Wait. What are you doing? Don't do that! Don't look down! Nooooooooooooooo...

I warned you.

People, we need storage solutions around here!

My friend Katherine, who doesn't have a blog (get a blog!) shared her storage with me in an e-mail this week. She said, "This is a huge, monstrous cabinet we bought during the first year of marriage. I have no idea why we thought we needed this big thing in our apartment! Anyway, after it spent years taking up almost the entire bedroom, we moved it out to the living room. Yes that is a weird place for it I know! But anyway, we have 2 living rooms so this sits by the back door (hence all the jackets). Now why these boys need so many jackets, I couldn’t tell you, especially since it’s SO HOT NOW that I cannot even imagine wearing a jacket at any time in my life! I digress…So this is my attempt at organization, which kind of falls apart in the upper middle there, as you can tell. It would help if there was another shelf up there. And, how did all that stuff creep up on top of the cabinet? What can I say…I did not clean up first, as directed! And, my curriculum is even in there somewhere, in a white (unopened) cardboard box…just waiting for me to get prepared!! At least the jackets are mostly hung up!

Thank you, Katherine. Even though you do not have a blog (get a blog), you were our first contributor.

Now it's YOUR turn. Share your storage with us. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Oh, and lots of tips from you all who have learned a thing or two about what works for you would be nice.

Thank you for stopping by and Keepin' It Real!!!





Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Time to Download Those Pictures!!!!

Our Keepin' It Real: Homeschool Organization event is coming in just a few days!!!! On Thursday the 10th we will be sharing how we store and organize all the "stuff" we use for school.

I don't care if it's a closet, plastic tubs, piles, shelves or a lovely classroom...we want to see it! And...since this is Keepin' It Real...you cannot straighten it up before you snap! We like to keep it real around here.

I can't wait to see all the different ways that we find to store stuff. I know there will be many of you who have found awesome storage solutions and I can't wait to learn from you! Feel free to describe what areas of your house the stuff is stored in and also feel free to show us pictures of what you would LIKE to have. Your ideal storage solutions, if you will.

Thanks to all of you who spread the word! I can't wait to get a peek into your homes. I'm nosy that way.

Mr. Linky and I will see you on Thursday!

And Now the Conclusion

I started to write this the other day, but I seem to have gotten on a bit of a tangent resulting in this post.

What I was GOING to say was that I felt the need to be a bit more formal about my daughters' Bible learning. Towards that end I went to the Bible bookstore the other night in search of something we could do together during the week.

Now I have been to more training on learning styles than you could shake a stick at. There is almost NO way to determine each student's learning style in a class of 22 kiddos. That much I know. You have a few kids who stand out, but really most of that learning style training I received went in one ear and out the other because it just isn't that useful for a classroom teacher.

However, since I've been teaching my daughters at home, their learning styles are becoming SO evident to me! And the differences in styles really do make a difference. It isn't that you have to spend hours trying to figure out how to best style your lesson to meet their learning needs, it's more like---sit back and watch their styles show through. It's so interesting.

So at the Bible book store I couldn't find anything that was appropriate for both a near 9 year old and a 4 1/2 year old. It seems they are just a bit too far apart. The best you can do is aim for the middle and then I think they both get robbed, you know?

So I found this book for Sweetheart and she loves it. It isn't just text to read, it isn't just a story to listen to, but it has graphics that she gets to fill out and places to draw and write her own thoughts and responses. It's a good fit for her as far as personal devotional books go. It feels a bit like a diary and she likes that.


So I thought I was such a pro since I picked out this great book for my daughter. Ah, but what to get Little Bit? (They make those same devotional books for her age but the store didn't have any so I didn't know that at the time!) I finally settled on this book. It's fairly short. It goes through the stories in order. There's a DVD to watch. It's all good for a four year old.

Well, I was surprised at the way Sweetheart reacted to Little Bit's DVD Bible storybook. She walked in the room just as I was popping the DVD in and when the song came on Sweetheart just immediately got up and started dancing and singing along. She loved it! She is such an interesting mix of learning styles. And Little Bit sat on the couch without moving and took it all in. Last week my sister and I took the little girls to see a play. It was their first time going to the children's theater and I was seriously wondering if Little Bit was enjoying herself. She sat and watched. That's it. For the whole play. She never laughed when it was funny. She didn't sit on the edge of her seat when it was suspenseful. She just sat and watched.

And when it was over she gushed, "That was SO FUNNY! I LIKED IT!"

Really? You could have fooled me.

I don't think I'm quite through figuring her out. But I'll keep working on it because I don't know anything more important for them to learn and there are so many ways to bring the Bible to life.

And...(just to drive some of you crazy)...I have more to say on that subject.

Another day. (Hee Hee)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Hospital Update

Moose came through surgery just fine. It took around 3 hours! I just got home after Mom and I made sure my sister had some supper before we left. My niece was in pain when she first woke up and it made me so sad--she is little to go through such a long surgery. I know the hospital considers it routine, but I don't. Morphine was quickly administered and she was out really quickly sucking on her fingers. She'll be there 2 nights while she recovers.

Now I'm home with three other little girls who spent the entire day with a very tired Grandpa. I sent them outside to RUN and PLAY as soon as we got home. We'll go visit our cousin/sister/niece tomorrow. Thank you everyone for the prayers!

Headed to the Hospital

I won't have time to continue my last post today--I know, I know--HOW disappointing. I'm not sure it's worth waiting for. I didn't intend to make it a 2-parter. I just talk a lot.

Today my 4 year old niece will be having surgery so I'm headed to the hospital with my sister and mom this morning. This is the niece we affectionately call "Moose" because of her ever-so-dainty size. She was born with a large cyst on one of her ovaries which was removed right after she was born. It was like a pound or something like that! On the same side of the body where the cyst formed, her kidney is smaller (but healthy) and also she has one too many ureters. This keeps causing infections so today they will fix that. It's not a long surgery, but she will be in the hospital for a few days.

We will be keeping her older sister (almost 8) during this time so my girls are very excited to have their cousin for a few days. I may require a lot of caffeine this week!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Learning With Style

We are still really new to this whole "we are responsible for our children's education and spiritual well-being" thing. It may seem strange, but two people who grew up in church and were already Christians when we got married...didn't really get it. It was around 2 years ago that I started researching homeschooling. You know, "just in case" we ever became missionaries and I "had" to homeschool. Because that was the only acceptable reason in my mind to do such a freaky thing. :)

And I started noticing people like the Duggar family, who I didn't really understand, but I admired because every single thing they did in their life was shaped by scripture. Hmmm. Read the Bible and change your life according to what you read? Interesting. Wasn't the Bible just supposed to be kind of encouragement? Weren't you just supposed to crack it open and find a verse that applied to whatever life situation you were going through?

It wasn't just the Duggars. I started reading too. I read about families who did things differently and I began to understand that homeschooling, at least for some people, wasn't so much about education as it was a parental responsibility as Christians. I had no arguments for that one.

And truly if public school were not what it is--it might be acceptable to me to send my children. Private Christian school would be better than that, if it were affordable. But I really did begin to see that there isn't a neutral way to teach kids. They either ARE being taught about God and his ways for 8 hours a day, or they are NOT being taught His ways. I didn't feel like we could make up the difference in 4 hours each evening.

And as my husband always says, we have no idea what kind of world we are preparing these children for. It won't be like it was when we were young adults, and it won't even be like it is now. It will likely be much, much worse. So their spiritual training is not just important. It's not just a priority. It's not even just a responsibility.

It is imperative. It will make the difference between life and death to them.

So it happened that God made a way for us to begin homeschooling. (Thank you, Lord!) And as I got used to spending every waking minute with my children (which was an adjustment) I began to see just how long they had really been away from me when I was working. I feel like I have gained their childhood back. I'm not saying that to make any working moms feel bad--I'm just saying that there really are a lot of hours in the day to talk about God's word as we walk through our days. And I'm starting to feel a renewed responsibility for that.

So, I have felt the need for something a bit more formal than just walking and talking about God's word. And reading it.

And look at that--I've rambled on and haven't even made it to my point. So now the title seems silly. Well, next time I'll finish.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Keepin' It Real: Homeschool Storage, Coming Soon!

I need your help.

My storage cart I was using last year to store our homeschool stuff kind of fell apart.

I might have overloaded it just a bit.

On Thursday, July 10 I am hosting a Keepin' It Real event in which you all share a picture (or pictures) of where you keep your homeschool stuff.

It's a Keepin' It Real event because I forbid you to wait until everything is organized before you take the picture. We want to see the raw, ugly, unorganized truth!

And if you are one of those types who always keeps everything in perfect order....you are welcome here too. Because we do not shame you here at The Family Revised. We don't understand you, so we have kind of a weird fascination with people like you. Show us your storage too. Maybe I will be inspired.

In addition to the pictures, I want to know:

1. Where you got the shelf/cabinet/cart what-have-you that you use for storage.
2. What room (s) of the house you store your stuff in.
3. What works/doesn't work or what your ideal storage solution would be.

That's all I need. But I know everyone who reads my blog is not a homeschooler, so please help me by spreading the word! You can post it, or just send out an e-mail to some homeschooling friends. I don't have a huge reader-base, but I have huge storage problems! So I need your help to get the word out and we can all share the Mr. Linky love together. OK?
Besides, I KNOW that most of you have learned a thing or two about storage along the way so why should I have to repeat that same learning when I can just glean from your knowledge? Right?

Keepin' It Real: Homeschool Storage
Thursday, July 10
Spread the word!

Thanks! You guys are the best!