Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Not a Creature is Stirring...

Today was the first day of our co-op. What fun we had!!! We are members of a Classical Conversations Community here in Augusta and what a gift it is! I am a tutor and it feels good to sort of be back in the classroom again. The only difference is that I only have 8 children, once a week, I'm introducing material, one parent must be in the room at all times and I love what I'm teaching!

God has made me as a teacher. I love coming up with little games or jingles to teach the memory work and it is so sweet to have my very own Julia in my room with me. I wonder what she thinks about me as a teacher. I'm sure she sees a different side of me. She seemed to have a good time. I was whipped to say the least! I slept for about an hour and the kids are still down.

I could cry. Really. When God began us on this journey 4-5 years ago, I wasn't sure how it would look. I knew that obeying God beat disobeying and I certainly wanted to disciple my children. The other night I told my husband, "I see where we are headed and I like it." That is only because of His grace. Surely He can be trusted. Surely His plans for our lives are good. Surely I can look at the future with great anticipation because He is leading us there by His rod and His staff. He is my sweet, sweet, Lord and for whatever reason He has given me these children to spend my days with. I tell my kids as much as I can, that there isn't another way I'd rather spend my days. Really. The laundry, the lunches (I really don't like fixing lunch everyday) the mess that my house seems to stay in because people live's all because of the privilege I have in discipling my children.

So, it's official. We are in a co-op and we are doing this thing! We are really doing it! We've taken matters into our own hands...and placed them in the Father's care.

He is so good. I am so unworthy, my only response is praise.
Thank you Father.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

What are we doing???

I am very excited about this year. Anson is officially in a "home study program" and I'm thankful that God has made things clear to us and we'll start this year with some ease. I'd like to share a little bit of what we're using and why in the hopes that it will help someone else as much as other people have helped me.

Anson is beginning the first grade. Many of these selections are higher or lower than that, but that is one thing I love about this homeschooling gig! You can do what you want! So, here it is:

First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind, the Second Grade section
I love this because I feel as though it covers all the basics in a no-nonsense matter. I can add to it if I want to make it fluffy (which I usually don't). It's cost effective. I paid $19.95 for a hard bound copy which includes First and Second Grade. It is non consumable which means for all 3 kids it's able to be used. We did the First Grade section last year. It is scripted, which I like because I want to make sure I teach the kids all they need to know in this area.

We have been using Sequential Spelling and where I'm not crazy about it, it's getting the job done. I don't give Anson all 25 words a day, we'll probably work up to that, but I like how it builds on words that the child has learned. If he misspells a word, he rewrites it correctly and we move on to the next word. Again, pretty no-nonsense. We did use Spelling Workout at the beginning of last year, but I didn't love all.

Several years ago I read a review on Miquon Math and thought, "That's what I think is best for us." I never changed my mind. We started with Cuisenairre Rods and a super Idea Book last year, and it flowed right into Miquon Math. I lack confidence in the math department, so my husband was invited to help out here and he added Singapore Math. I think we'll be ahead right now, but we're still going to do the easy stuff to be sure that a smooth transition is made and when Miquon is finished (it only goes to the third grade, to my knowledge) we'll have a math program we are used to.

For art, history, science and music we'll be using the materials from our Co-op. This is our first year for a Co-op, but I heard of this one several years ago, and never wanted to look any further. It's academic and LOTS OF FUN!!! The resources are easy to use and everyone has been enjoying the memory CD. Ella's favorite part is chanting the Latin declensions! Seriously! Pretty simple, I think. It leaves plenty of time for making beds, cleaning bathrooms, dress-up, playgroups, parks and of course...LEGOS!!!

So, many people ask me, "What do you do with the girls while you are schooling Anson?" them, too! We don't call it "school" we call it "table time." Everyone bellies up to the table and everyone has something to do. Julia is currently learning how to read using the same book I used with Anson. While Julia is reading, Anson is working on his copywork. (I guess I forgot that. For handwriting he is copying hymns. Just a few lines a day.) Ella is playing with magnets or felt, or whatever I have put in the "table time" basket for her to choose from. When Julia is finished usually the girls may be excused and they play while we're at the table. Some days they'll sit at the table the entire time. If they get crazy, they come back to the table. Ella and I play games and read books. Table time, on average, takes about 1.5 hours.

We're always reading a book. We've been spending time on the prairie with Laura and Mary Ingalls and we LOVE them! I have also been introduced to Little Britches written by Ralph Moody. We'll start that series when we are finished with the Little House Series. I also try to include a biography for the kids to get fired up about missions. We've read David Livingstone and Mike is reading John C. Paton who was a missionary in the South Seas. I have to remember to read books on Ella's level too, that would be easier if I didn't carry a fine at the library!

I think that's it. We are pretty intense about a few things so that our days are not consumed. I know that in time our days will be much longer, and when those days come I know I'll be thankful that I didn't rush them!

This year we may work on a few lapbooks. I've been very interested in them for a while and may get one or two from In the Hands of a Child for the girls to work on throughout the year.

Last year I had the privilege of listening to Leigh Bortins speak and asked her what advice she would give to a new mom. Her response, "The words of C.S. Lewis, ' Teach less, more thoroughly.' " I think it's fantastic advice! I'll try to keep everyone posted!!!

Mike's Garden

I still get nervous being passionate about homeschooling. I know that God has not called everyone to it, but He has called me and I know that if I'm not passionate, I'll never last. I want to share what we're doing this year, our curriculum and schedule, but first I want to share a quick story.

Mike has a garden. He has loved this garden well. At the beginning I got nervous because I thought I was going to have to be responsible for the garden and everything else...not so. It is Mike's garden. He has done a great job. He has learned a ton and we've enjoyed some fresh veggies in the process. One of the main things he has learned about are squash vine borers. These nasty little worms are the larva (or does that need an "e"? larvae) of a moth that lays it's eggs on the vines and when they hatch they bore their way into the vines and eat it. You can't see them. Mike has to look for their "signs." I know when he's about to do "surgery" because he puts his gloves on and then asks when dinner will be ready...he knows he'll be a while.

Alright...for the middle two weeks of July we were out of town and we had our neighbors taking care of our garden. Our neighbors have had their own gardens before and are extremely kind and we knew that they would take good care of the garden. We came home after 2 weeks and everything was still alive and we even had a pumpkin! To the naked eye, all was well. After we unpacked, Mike headed out during the remaining minutes of daylight to inspect his mistress (that's what I call it because when he's not with me, he's with her). There wasn't time to do surgery until the next day, but he knew surgery would be imperative. The vine borers were having Thanksgiving dinner!

The next day, sure as the world, he was with her and digging out so many of these little pests that he says he lost count. I thought, "That is why we homeschool." We entrusted our garden with a very kind man who knew about gardens, but he doesn't love our garden like Mike does. He wasn't going to spend hours carefully removing worms from the inside of the vines. We didn't expect him to, either. That was our job.

I told Mike, we homeschool because our kids have vine borers. There is crud in their heart that is naked to most. We love them and have a vision for their lives that God doesn't just give out to anyone. He gave it to us. We are the ones that are responsible for carefully inspecting their hearts being careful that the sin that can so easily entangle does not have time to eat them from the inside out. We are not crazy. We know there is sin there. We are not keeping them from school to keep them away from sin...if that were the case, we'd have to kick them out of our house cause' it's here too! We are all too aware of their sin and desire to check on them daily. We don't just want them to be alive, we want them to be alive with the ability to produce fruit(or veggies in this case).

So, with that picture before me, we start our year. I'll do that separate...