Saturday, August 29, 2009

Homeschool Help Part 2

Update on my last post....I just received a phone call from the man at the garage sale. As he was cleaning up the leftovers from the sale he found that there were actually work books and tapes to go along with the curriculum that I had bought.
He wanted me to know that he would be holding on to them for me and I could pick them up anytime I wanted. Also if I was interested in any of the other books that didn't sell, he wanted me to know I could take them as well.
Isn't that great? I had to write a check at the garage sale yesterday since I hadn't taken enough cash with me. I was kind of irritated with myself for having to write a silly $5 check, but now I realize that without that, the man would not have had my phone number to let me know about the extra materials! :)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Homeschool Help

This week was our first 'official' week as a homeschooling family. It has gone amazingly well and much smoother than I anticipated! I planned for a little more disruption, a little less attention span and in general....more chaos. The week was fun, exciting and full. We have had more than enough time to get schooling done and even plenty of time leftover to go swimming and meet friends at the park. So far, this is IDEAL!

Which is not to say it will always be this peaceful. As my friend Leigh Ann suggested, I'll just post this here and save it as something I can refer back to in the rough times. :) I'm okay with that as I know that God called me to this and He will provide whatever we need to get through it.

Actually, God's provision is what I wanted to post about today. Since I am new to homeschooling and Henry is only in first grade, I chose to start off slowly so as not to overwhelm either one of us. I wanted to begin with basic subjects (Reading, Phonics, Spelling, Handwriting, Mathematics, Bible) and figured I would ease my way into the things I was leaving out. As this week played out I realized that the two subjects weighing heavily on my mind that I was 'skipping' were Science and History.
I wasn't quite sure how I was going to incorporate them, but I knew that I'd better get a plan before too much time passed. (I have a way of filling time, so if I can fit it in the schedule now I'll be much better off!) History seems easy enough to cover with books from the library, so I set that aside and focused on science. Yesterday I spent hours online trying to figure out what I was going to teach without spending any more money than I already have on homeschool materials. A friend (once again, Leigh Ann!) directed me to a site that had some free printables and I put together a Nature Journal for Henry to use/fill out throughout this year. I was pretty excited about it, but still knew I was missing some major science themes. Eventually I just gave it up to God...prayed about it and let it go.
I certainly wasn't expecting an answer to arrive the very next morning!

This morning my best friend called me. She was at a garage sale, saw some homeschool materials and wondered if I might be interested? I asked her to describe them to me and she told me it was a complete first grade curriculum from a Christian publisher for $30. I recognized the name but couldn't picture it. It included Science and History. Anyway, she asked the man running the sale if he would consider splitting it up and selling parts of it separately. He said yes.
So I loaded the kids up in the car and headed over there. Turns out it was the science curriculum that I had wanted to buy for this year in the first place! Earlier in the summer when I was purchasing all of our supplies I went to a bookfair and saw this very same book and thought it would be PERFECT for Henry. In the end I decided it was just too expensive and not completely necessary. Though I hadn't looked at the history book before, it is a wonderful resource also.
The great thing is that it included the text books AND the teacher's manuals and he sold them all to me for $10! Isn't that AWESOME?

God is so good and faithful to provide not just some, but ALL of our needs. He provided for me and not just the bare minimum...the very thing I had wanted all along. I am humbled by the God of the universe! Amazing.
Our memory verse for this week is Hebrews 4:13a "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight." Apparently, not even my secret desires, which I hadn't shared with ANYONE! :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bridget is TWO!

July 31, 2009--Bridget's 2nd birthday!

She started the day off with a special birthday crown.

Bridget's birthday was on a Friday this year. It also happened to be the best day for Sam to take time off work and stay home with Jonah and Bridget so I could take Henry for a special trip to six flags. So the rest of her day was spent with her Daddy and brother puttering around the yard and the shop. I wasn't there but I'm sure she had a blast!

We ended the day together. When Henry and I got home we had a few friends over (Valerie and Austie) and shared pink strawberry cupcakes with the birthday girl. I think she thought I had lost my mind when I set the lit candles in front of her. She did try to blow them out, but ended up getting a little help from Jonah.

The next night we went to a barbecue at our friend Ingrid's house. Ingrid wanted to celebrate with Bridget, so she brought her a brownie with a cute little #2 candle and we all sang for her again. I'd like to say that was the only dessert she had that evening, but the desserts were set up on a coffee table just perfect for a little two-year-old to help herself. :)

The following day was Sunday. After church we headed home for quick naps and then went out to the lake for Bridget's actual birthday party. Grammy and Grandpop, Jon and Kelly, Jordan and Matthew were all out there too. We spent the afternoon swimming and enjoying the lake. I made Bridget an Elmo cake since he is her favorite thing these days. That somehow inadvertently started a new name for Elmo around these whenever she sees him on something she calls him ElmoCake.

The boys REALLY wanted a pinata for Bridget's party. We looked at them at Walmart and decided the $20 price (and that didn't include filling it!) was just too much for something that Bridget couldn't really participate in. As we were leaving that department, Henry pulled something off the shelf. "How about this elephant one, Mom? I think it's on sale!" Now it was, in fact, on sale, but it took me a minute to see the 'elephant' instead of the 2009. Do you see it? I couldn't resist at that point and bought this one for only $7 on clearance!

Here's Bridget giving it her best shot. We started with the youngest (the birthday girl) and worked up to the older kids. Matthew gave it a few good whacks too! Jonah and Jordan took turns and enjoyed tapping on the pinata, but it really took Henry's six year old strength to bust it open. The kids had fun collecting the candy....
....and then later on Bridget and Matthew slipped inside to play in the playroom together. These little cousins are just the sweetest things and they love each other so much. I love seeing them together! If only they wouldn't get into so much trouble together--they have such a knack for causing mischief when they are with each other. ;)
It was a busy weekend full of birthday bashes, but Bridget was blessed and had a blast! :)

Happy Birthday, my precious daughter.
I am so very thankful that the LORD graced our family with you. You are a JOY to us and all who know you. You have such a gentle, nurturing spirit and always a cheerful countenance. You adore your Daddy and your brothers and can't get enough of our animals (Spark, George "Bush," Elmer and Nugget, and of course the chickens). You have an independant and adventurous streak but you still save plenty of time to snuggle. You can sit for hours at a time and have books read to you. You'll eat anything that is set in front of you and you have the best manners I've ever seen in a two year old. You love to swim and know how to hold your breath and paddle. Armed with water wings you roam the pool all by yourself. You received a pair of Elmo tennis shoes for your birthday and I have a feeling you might just wear them out before you outgrow them simply because you love them so much. Rufus is still your constant companion, but he is often joined by one or two babies (and any other stuffed animal you find along the way).
Love you, Little Boo. You are such a GIFT to us!

A lesson not quite learned

Driving home from church this afternoon, Henry and Jonah were bickering. I hadn't really noticed it brewing until all of a sudden I heard Henry shout at Jonah, "Please don't wreck my bag!"

I looked back and saw Jonah holding Henry's paper bag in a threatening manner. Asking him what he was doing resulted in this explanation...."Well, Henry hurt my feelings, so I am going to ruin his bag!"

The first thing that sprang into my mind was a memory of something I had done as a child. My brother had hurt my feelings in some way and I desired to hurt him back. He had a little Mickey Mouse stuffed animal that he really liked, so I told him I was going to ruin it....and I did. I took the thing by it's tail and hit it on the bed over and over until the tail ripped off. Only it didn't make me feel any better. Actually it made me feel much worse and years later as an adult I still felt the need to go back to him and apologize and ask his forgivness for my petty act.

So I shared this story with Jonah and tried to tie in a little bit about forgiveness....I thought I did a fairly good job. I paused to let it sink it a bit.

It was quiet in back of the van for a moment or two.

Then Jonah's sweet little voice pipes up....."You should have used a knife."


"A pocketknife. That would have been stronger to get the tail off."