Tuesday, April 21, 2009


The unit studies that we use either come from Five in a Row or Homeschoolshare.  Homeschoolshare is a free website where dozens of ladies have come together to write units to share with other homeschooling families.  Besides book units, there are animal studies and book report ideas. 

Each spring, in order to get more units submitted to be able to use, they host what's called The Blast.  There are prizes given to the best written units in certain categories.  For the last 2 years, I have participated and written some units, and I will participate again this year.  What units will I write?  Hmmm...you'll have to wait and see. 

For more information on homeschoolshare, you can click on the link above, or on my sidebar on the right.

Monday, April 20, 2009


One day after convention and I am still overwhelmed with the things I heard.  My favorite speaker was Mark Hamby from Lamplighter Publishing.  He has several audios on his website that you can listen to. 

The first session was The Great Awakening.  He talked about the media, TV influence, violence.  It made me really think about the TV shows we watch and how much TV time we have in our household.  I am thankful that we no longer have cable/dish.

The next session of his was Raise Them Up, Don't Crush Them Down.  The main idea of this session was it doesn't matter what we're doing for Christ, it matters how we're modeling Him at home.
Jesus became a servant, that's the model we want to follow.  Our children are more likely to follow us if we are humble.

The last session I heard from Mr. Hamby was I Will Not Let Go.  He talked about Jacob's (from Genesis) life and finally when he wrestled with a man that touched his hip and crippled him.  Even after we was touched, he said he would not let go.  When we are going through a trial and it hurts, we need to hold on to God - don't let go.  God will put us in situations when we have to trust Him by faith.

Other things I heard:

How parent our children Biblically
How to teach our children character - encourage often
Some ideas for kids in setting up their own business

We decided to purchase a new math program - Math U See.  It's video and manipulative based.  We decided to change because as we get into the upper elementary levels, it's becoming harder to explain effectively.  It's also becoming tedious for me to teach every subject.  This is a way to give me a little bit of a break by having a "teacher" teach them.  The manipulatives are small blocks that they use to help them "see" how the solution makes sense.  We had watched the demo about 3 years ago when we were looking a math curriculums, and we were impressed then, but because our boys both are good in math and because of the price, we decided to go with Horizons, which was cheaper.  I feel comfortable with our decision.  We did the first lesson today, and both boys really enjoyed not having to listen to mom, and using the blocks to solve problems.  They are both excited to start the next lesson.  I hope the enthusiasm sticks!

Also, after hearing Mark Hamby, we invested in 6 of the lamplighter books.  These are republished books originally written in the 1800's that develop good character qualities.  These books are not cheap (that's why I used the word "invested").  These will be family read-alouds before bedtime (instead of TV).  Ryan will do the reading of these books (they hear my voice so much.)

Our last big investment was 10 more Heroes of History/Heroes of Faith books from YWAM (Youth With  A Mission.)  These are well-written biographies about missionaries or someone from history.  We bought 10 last year at convention and I have really enjoyed reading them.  When Nicolas gets a little bit older (maybe by next school year), I plan to read these as school-time read alouds to go along with units we do.  (Example - when we study Africa, we might read David Livingstone, or when we study China - we might read Gladys Alyward, or if we are studying the Civil War, we might read Abraham Lincoln, etc.)

Because of these big ticket items, I decided to not choose a separate history or science textbook.  We will pull geography into our unit studies next year along with some Ancient history, and we will pull science into our units (weather, water, aviation, etc.)  We will have a little more relaxed homeschool and focus more on Bible (which I heard about this weekend) and on our unit studies (which has felt rushed this year.)


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Indiana History

Alex and the other 4th graders in our co-op finished up their Indiana History notebooks yesterday - with the exception of a trivia page they will do in 2 weeks.  Here is the last semester's entries into the notebook:

We talked about our crops - soybeans, corn, tomatoes; the things we mine - limestone; the cars we produce.

We talked about some of the car producers - Auburn, Cord, Deusenberg - and had to cancel a field trip to the museum because of weather.

We talked about Indiana Government and who our elected officials are.

Who can talk about Indiana History without talking about the Indy 500 track?

And lastly, some major weather catastrophes in Indiana, including a couple that hit close to home - the Blizzard of 1978 and the Palm Sunday tornados of 1965.

Moving West

Alex finished up his Moving West notebook last week.  Here are some pictures:

He had to write an acrostic using the letters from Gold Fever:

Gold is what I love
Over the years I found some
Loving gold is what I do
Die I will, before I lose it.

Far down in the ground
Every nugget lays
Very yellow nuggets
Right under your nose!

Then, we read about Homesteading the West:

And finally finished with Building the Railroads
And this pop-up:

Aesop's Fables

Nicolas has been working on a project about Aesop and some of his fables we have been reading.  He's worked hard on thei project and his learning much about Aesop.  Here is a slideshow showing his work: 

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Patience update

Okay, so at the beginning of the year, I was challenged to choose a word to focus on for 2009.  I chose the word patience not realizing how difficult it would be.  (When the Lord wants to teach you something that you don't have a good handle on - it is painful to learn.)  So, my plan was to take a notebook to journal in about the lessons I have learned about my word.  I did a few entries and it fell by the wayside, so I felt like I had failed my challenge.  But I chose a word, and God is determined to teach me whether I am journaling or not. 

Back in November, our ladies group at church began a book Finding God's Path Through Your Trials by Elizabeth George.  We began the study with James 1:1 and focused on counting it ALL joy (not 99%, but 100% joy) when you have a trial.  Okay, I have been blessed and don't have the HARD trials that others have that are suffering illnesses or deaths of loved ones.  But, I have my trials and I learned that I should not compare my trials with others.  My trials are important to me, even if it is the day to day stuff of bringing up to stubborn boys. 

About the same time I stopped journaling on my own about patience (February), our Bible study got to the verse James 1:3 - the testing of your faith produces patience.  So, every trial is teaching me patience.  Then began a study of Hebrews 11 and how each of those people's faith was tested through a trial. 

Throughout the past couple of months, I have "fallen" into some trials.  January, we remodeled a new house to move into.  During the course of remodeling, our water froze pushing back the bathroom remodel.  February, we moved into a new home in the midst of tax season.  We are still trying to sell our old house and trying to keep bills up for 2 places.  We are still trying to get our clients tax returns completed.  I deal with homeschooling every day and the trial that go along with that.  In March, I had carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand.  And finally today, after looking forward to getting my stitches out, I find out my doctor is not in the office on Thursdays so I have to wait until Monday to start my recovery.  Trials.

So, here are some truths I have gained from our Bible study so far.  James 1:3 in the NLT "When the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow."  In defining patience, we came up with "refusing to be provoked or angered", "calmly tolerating", and "bearing trials without murmuring".  James 1:4 "Patience must finish it's work so that you may be mature & complete- not lacking anything."  So, I need to look at the end result of these trials - completeness.  The only way to get through a trial is to go THROUGH it - not around it, or avoiding it.  So the main lesson I went away with last night from Bible study was:

As I deal with a trial, I need to refuse to be provoked, calmly tolerate it and bear it without murmuring.  To summarize:  DON'T REACT.  I struggle with reacting when I'm schooling the boys and they are trying my patience.  I decided to put up sticky notes throughout the house where I generally "react" - mainly the school room - that say DON'T REACT.

So, even though I have failed my journaling, God is teaching me patience.  I am learning and I just wanted to share.  I am excited to see what else I will learn through this Bible study.  And I guess my blog is now becoming my journal.