Thursday, February 27, 2014

I Could Have Given You Less

“I Could Have Given You Less” by: Raising Samuels
 
 
            My husband and I made the decision this past weekend, to take our house off the market.  After almost 6 months and about 25 different couples coming to view our house, we received no offers.  It was priced below market value and we even lowered it to the point, where it was almost not worth selling.  We ended up switching our sons’ room and the office around and painted both rooms and our upstairs hallway, and restaged both rooms to show better.  Thankfully, we did this with neutral colors but also to our liking just in case we didn’t sell.
            We couldn’t figure out why we hadn’t gotten a single offer.  Our friends and family were stumped too.  We had done a lot of work to the house and it looked gorgeous. 
            We live in a townhouse a little under 1700 square feet with 2 ½ bathrooms and 3 bedrooms just to paint you a picture.  We have a one car garage and we are one of eight units in a building.  We really don’t have what you would call a yard.  My husband and I thought it would be great to have a bigger house with a big yard.  We weren’t appreciating what we did have.
            After about three months of praying, I realized I was praying wrong.  I had been asking God to please sell our house so we could get something bigger.  God likes us to ask Him questions but only when it is according to His will.  He doesn’t want to be told what to do.  He knows us better than we do ourselves.  I started to pray for God’s will on my house.  And after 3 months of feeling like there was no answer, I got one: “I could have given you less.”
            We live in a society where “Keeping up with the Jones” is at its peak.  Everyone wants the latest iPhone or a bigger house or a nicer car.  We want the best of everything.  Is it wrong to want nice things?  Is it wrong to want nicer things for our children? No, it’s not but at what price is that worth?  Is it worth the price of your joy or your children’s joy?
            I tell you this because this is the point my husband and I got to.  We were being short tempered with our sons and each other because we were trying to clean the house for a showing, which would be our last showing.  I finally looked at him and said, “Is this really worth it?” 
            Look at the wonderful things going on in your life.  Are your children healthy and safe?  Do you have a place to call home and love, laughter, joy, and food in it?  Do you have family and friends who love and care about you?  We all go through times where we think we have it bad.
            We had some friends who came over this past weekend who had never seen our house before come in with a great perspective.  They were impressed that we weren’t responsible for the outside of our home or the lawn maintenance because it’s part of our HOA.  We have a pool at the front of our neighborhood that I walk to everyday with my sons when it’s warm enough to go swimming, that we are not responsible for cleaning.  I live in a gated community with a Neighborhood Watch and safe sidewalks that my sons, dog, and I walk on for exercise everyday.   
            From the description I gave you before of my home, let me paint you a better picture of what I do have.  I have a house that is filled with the Lord, faith, friendship, family, love, and joy.  I do not want for anything and I am grateful for what I do have not only in my home, but my life.   After all the renovations we did in our house, it looks and feels amazing and we realized we didn’t want to move after all.
            Sometimes we need a different perspective on things.  What is going on in your life that you are struggling with or that is taking the joy from you?  If you have been praying on it and haven’t received an answer yet, are you praying for what you want or what God wants?  Only God knows what the future holds.  Maybe you are going through this bad time in your life but He will find a way to bring good out of it.  Just remember to be grateful for all that you do have because He could have given you less.
 
Blessings,
 
Kelly

#Christian





 



 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sarah's First Memory of Faith - Remembering how to have a childlike faith

"Sarah's First Memory of Faith" by: Raising Samuels

 

            Sarah raced to tie her shoes and get her coat on.  It was the winter of 1989 and she had just turned five years old.  She was especially happy this morning because she was headed to her Aunt Ellen and Uncle Greg’s house.  Aunt Ellen and Uncle Greg had the best place for a child growing up in the 1980’s.  They had Nintendo and all the great movies on VHS like Annie, Batman, and The Sound of Music.  They had a ping pong table and they had all the coloring books and awesome card games to play like “Go Fish.”  Aunt Ellen made the best brownies and it just felt like a home away from home at their house. 
            The only problem was they lived three hours away so Sarah didn’t get to see them often but she was ready.  “Dad, it’s starting to snow!  We have to go!” she yelled from the bottom of the stairs.  A few short minutes Sarah, her mom, dad and little brother, Tom loaded into their blue van. 
            They had great fun going to Aunt Ellen and Uncle Greg’s and played games on the way up and sang songs like “Wheels on the Bus” and Sarah was getting really good at noticing landmarks to know when they were getting close.  All of a sudden, her dad stopped singing and that’s when she realized the car had stopped.
            “Daddy, what’s wrong with the car?” asked Sarah.  “Nothing baby, it just stopped. I am going to try and start it again,” Sarah’s dad reassured her.  Her dad tried and tried to start the ignition but the car wouldn’t start.  Sarah looked over and saw the terror on her mother’s face.  In just a few months, Sarah was going to have a baby sister and her mother tried to calm herself while making sure Sarah and Tom were okay.
            It was starting to get cold.  The heater in the van didn’t work very well and now with the car not starting, the cold just seemed to seep into the car faster.  The children looked outside the window and saw they were the only ones on the road.  It was a three lane highway on the path to north Jersey and it was completely covered in white snow and the snow started to come down faster and heavier by the minute.
            There wasn’t a gas station for at least five or ten miles and with the blanket of snow on the ground, it was going to be nearly impossible to walk through.  The unspoken panic of the parents drifted its way into the backseat to the children.  Sarah grabbed Tom’s hand and said, “Tom, pray with me.”
            Tom looked at her as if she were crazy.  The truth is, Sarah and her family didn’t attend church regularly.  Normally, it was for a wedding or a funeral in the family and her parents always tried to get them there on at least Christmas or Easter.  But her parents had taught her how to pray and talk with God.  “Dear God,” Sarah started, “please help us get safely to Aunt Ellen and Uncle Greg’s house.  Please start our car.”
            She leapt onto her father’s lap and said, “Daddy, start the car.”  Sarah’s dad looked sadly down at her and tried to explain to her that the car wouldn’t start.  “Baby, it’s not going to work,” he said.  “Daddy, yes, the car is going to start,” she replied.  After a few seconds, her father went to show her how the car wouldn’t start.  “See Baby,” as he turned the keys, “it’s not going to.”  And there was a pause because not only did the car start, but heat came blasting through at full force and warmed the car up within minutes.  Sarah and her family were able to get to Aunt Ellen and Uncle Greg’s and had a great time!
            This is a true story.  I changed the names around to protect the privacy of my family but this did happen in the winter of 1989 on a trip to my aunt and uncle’s house.  This was before cell phones and roadside service.  I can only imagine what would have happened to my father, my mother pregnant with my little sister, brother and me. 
            I know that my parents did the best they could while raising us.  I have always been a believer in God but I was never taught scripture or how it related to real life.  During one of my devotionals this week, I read Hebrews 11:6: “And without faith it is impossible to please God…”.  I think back to the look of terror on my mother’s face and know now as a mom how my children can read me just like I read her.  As that child, I knew nothing of the dangers in the world.  All I knew was if I prayed to God, he was going to start our car.  There was not a doubt in my mind about it.
            Many of us are running around busy today and were forgetting to not only be thankful but Who to be thankful to.  Some people don’t know how to reach out and ask God for help.  They want to take it on their own and have it done their way.  They don’t understand why they keep running into brick walls.  For people who are believers, go back to that child in you and show that faithfulness to God that only a child could have.  He is still that same God as the One you knew when you were little.  He hasn’t changed.  And maybe you haven’t changed either but the world has.  Show the world how powerful our God is!  How can we do this though if we have no faith?  We can’t reach out and pray to Him with no faith in our hearts and expect Him to hear us.
             Things have changed quite a bit since the 1980’s.  We have lots of technology to make our lives easier but we seem to be busier than ever.  The good news is I get my devotionals delivered right to my inbox!  This verse stirred up this memory in me this week and I had to share it.  Do you know someone hurting or in need of the Master’s hand?  Go sit down and be that child in you and let them hear it.

Blessings to all of you and please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss this or tell me about your own memory where something like this happened to you.

*The picture is of me and my Grandma and in the back you can see the blue van from the story.

*The devotional where I obtained the scripture is from Institute for Creation Research and the article was called, “How to Please the Lord" from February 20, 2014.  (http://www.icr.org/article/7819/)

#faith #Christian #family







 



 


 






Field Trip: Duels at Daytona!

Thursday was my husband's birthday so he wanted to go see the Duels at Daytona to see which drivers would race in the Daytona 500.  We live a few hours from Daytona so we loaded up the boys in the car and off we went!  It was a gorgeous day and we had such a good time!

 
It was really nice how they have everything roped off on the path to get into the speedway and they had many people helping to direct traffic. 

 
This was so cool!  The boys got to pose next to Grandma's favorite driver's car and they super imposed the driver and the Yellow M&M but the boys loved that they got to see a real race car and they gave us lots of peanut M&Ms!

 
My handsome boys during the race!  My husband had to go get them earmuffs because it was so loud!  What an incredible sound it makes as the cars go zooming by!  You can't even make out which car is which; it is literally a loud blur that goes right past you!

 
Me and the boys pre-earmuff.

 
We got to see the Budweiser Clydesdales and they are just so gorgeous!  Homeschool facts: They weigh over 2,000 pounds and each of their hooves is 4 pounds.  They have represented Budweiser since 1933 because of their integrity, beauty, and strength.

 
My husband's favorite driver: Tony Stewart!  All the drivers were announced and then were each in the back of a truck with an American flag.  Some drivers brought their children with them and it's such an iconic, American family sport and I think that's why we like it so much!

 
The pre-laps when they go slow and can actually get a picture of the car!

 
Right before the race.  It is a gorgeous track and it was surprisingly really clean everywhere we saw.


 
The Clydesdales

 
The Clydesdales getting ready to head to the speedway.

 
The boys got to meet the 3M Mascot and also were given Swag Bags to go around and get some wonderful stuff from 3M.  They thought it was so cool; just like trick-or-treating!
 
Coca-Cola was also there and had some fun contests to play and had the crowd, sing "Old MacDonald" so the boys thought that was amazing! 
 
I love events like this because it lets the boys experience new things and also has them learn how to interact with other people. 

 

 

Abraham Lincoln and Cents. T is for Teeth! : Week of February 17, 2014


This week was Daddy's birthday so we had a busy week so we didn't get to a lot of homeschool activities but that is the beauty of homeschool: flexibility!  Here is our week:

Monday:

There was a freebie this week on Educents.com from http://www.kindercrazeblog.com/.  It was an Abraham Lincoln booklet working on the sight word, this.  B has been having a hard time with this one so I thought how awesome we can work on a booklet together and he got it! Yay!!!

G loves doing the same worksheets as his brother!
 
The boys cut and pasted the letters out and put them in the appropriate spot and then they painted the booklet!

We also went over the money conversions that 1 cent is a penny, 100 pennies equal a dollar, five dollars is equal to a five dollar bill.  The penny and the five dollar bill both have a picture of Abraham Lincoln on it and he was the 16th of the United States.

All of this was free this week!  I use Staples Rewards to recycle our ink cartridges and Staples gives you the best deals by far for your cartridges.  I had $16 in Rewards dollars and all of the stuff above was on sale at 50% off! 
I needed a magazine holder for my homeschool magazines I keep and I found this thing called The Desk Apprentice at Staples.  It not only fit my magazines, but the boys magazines and coloring books, my coupons, and I still have so much room in it!  And it spins so you can put it on your desk or we just have it on the floor. All of this for only $13.95 or free with Staples Rewards!
The picture story writing pads were 50% and the boys got the Ninja Turtle stickers and I still have $0.64 in Rewards!  The Victoria's Secret spray mist was free because I sign up for Victoria's Secret email and they send coupons from time to time!
 
Reading:
"A New Name for Jacob (Genesis 29; 32; 35) God Names Jacob Israel". Jacob had 2 wives Rachel and Leah and 13 children.  Through Jacob and his wives is the lineage of Jesus Christ and God changes Jacob's name to Israel.
Lesson 31 (w) in 100 Easy Lessons
 
Writing:
l,m,n
 
Tuesday:

T is for Teeth! February is National Children's Dental Health Month so we had a Clifford magazine and went over what is healthy for our teeth and what is not.  The boys got to circle the healthy items for your teeth on the back.
We went over a worksheet with the things that start with letter T like teeth, turtle, tent, and television.  And the boys had to use their new stickers for turtles!
We made our first graph!  I had B write good and bad and then we split up the paper from our new big story writing pads and they pasted pictures of good things for your teeth, and bad things for their teeth. 
We also went over a worksheet and counted pennies from 1 to 4 pennies and then we turned all of this into a super big booklet!
We went over phonics of T for G and we sang the Alphabet song.
 
Writing:
good, bad, 1-4
 
We also did ABCmouse.com lessons.
 
Wednesday:
The boys had Awanas today and their verse was "...great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:23
 
My husband and I have been going to the prayer meetings on Wednesday nights while the boys are at Awanas and it has been wonderful!  My husband requested a hymn that this verse in it.
 
Thursday:
See post for Field Trip: The Duels at Daytona
 
Friday:
Rested from being at Daytona.  We got home very late and we all slept in very late!
 
Saturday:
We got a chance to get to the library and get new library books to borrow!  We went and got some produce and then stopped over Grandma and Grandpa's house!
 
Reading:
"Jack and the Beanstalk" by: Steven Kellogg
"Swamp Song" by: Helen Ketteman
"Hansel and Gretel" by: Susan Jeffers
 
Have a blessed week!
 
 
 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Let the King of Kings Back Into Your Life

Honoring the Lord, fellow bloggers and ourselves

 
Let the King of Kings Back Into Your Life
Photo credit: Lightstock.com

    If you are a parent of a preschool or elementary age child, you probably recognize the cute, lovable fellow from the new Nick Jr. show, Wallykazam.  It is a great show of teaching your child to spell and it does so with cute songs.  One of the songs in it is called, "Let the King back in."

      Here is the scenario I ran into this weekend on a social media site and then I will explain why this wonderful kids show lifted my spirits!  I am a new blogger.  I am so excited to be out there networking with others and sharing my talents and looking at all the talents everyone else is passionate about.  Do you remember this enthusiasm experienced bloggers?  Do you still have it or remember what it was like to get an idea and you couldn't wait to get to the computer fast enough to type it? 

     Well, I had that same enthusiasm this weekend and felt compelled to write an article about how I homeschool my children.  I meet a lot of people and they ask me all the time, "How do you do it?" or "How did you get started?"  I thought writing an article, especially to a new homeschool Mom would help.  I spent a lot of time on it and was so excited that I wanted to share it.

     In one of the social medias I am on, I happened to place the article link into a forum of fellow bloggers.  What I got in response shocked me.  I got a nasty note from not only a fellow blogger, but a fellow homeschool Mom.  I was unaware of what to post and what not to post because I am new.  I see people post in this forum all the time about their blogs and I said you know what, maybe this article will help someone.

          Not only did I receive a nasty comment from this individual on the post but then the person contacted the administrator and had my post removed before I could even comment!  Another person behind me did the same thing I did and posted proudly an article about the Lord.  Ten minutes later, this person's post was also gone and disappeared like it had never been written.  I'm sure this person got the same nasty note from the individual and no one deserves that.  That's being a bully.  We are here as individuals, with our own unique talents and gifts.  Let's help to build each other up and not knock each other done, folks.  Everyone has been new at something once and not known proper protocol.  There's a nice way to say things. 

     I figured it out after prayer, that something struck a nerve with this person to have an administrator delete 2 articles that happened to be about the Lord or Lord centered.  And to be so vindictive towards a person you don't know is something I don't understand.  But it's okay because I have run into people like this my whole life and at the end of that day, those people are there to teach us something.  And we are here to teach them.  I truly pray for this person and I think yes, a nerve was struck with her for some reason but maybe a seed was also planted. 

    It was a blessing what this person did because it made me realize I was spending way too much trying to prove to others about me.  I only have one being to impress and that is my Heavenly Father.  I realized I can still do this blog but have people get to know me and if they don't that's okay too.  I know the messages and articles will help the right people that are looking for it.

     Now to tell you about the picture at the top from Wallykazam.  My sons were watching the show shortly after this scenario happened, and this song comes on about letting the King back in.  They are dancing and being silly and singing this song and I realized God was speaking through them: "Let the King of Kings back in."   And I couldn't help but laugh and start to dance and sing and be silly with them!

    This scenario was a direct attack trying to fool me into what I wrote wasn't significant.  I don't know if this person had a bad day or what happened, but if you are having a bad day stay away from social media.  You are not lashing out at your computer, you are reaching across cyber space and lashing out at someone you don't even know.  I've heard that you need a tough skin to be a blogger or a writer because you are going to write about things that may not agree with someone.  That's fine but let's offer some constructive criticism instead of trying to hurt someone who wrote about what they are passionate about. 

     God gives us a peace and a love that no one can take away.  Lately, I have read many bloggers expressing time management balance between blog and family.  Give it to the Lord.  He will give you balance.  He will give us all balance in what we are looking for if you seek Him.  Whatever may be going wrong or not according to your plan in your life, pray to Him and let the King of Kings back into your life.
 
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."

#Christian #faith




 

Field Trip: Day at the Zoo!

We were so blessed to receive annual zoo passes from my hubby's parents for Christmas so we decided to get out and go have a fun learning day at the zoo!  And it did not disappoint!  All of the animals were out and active and the boys learned so much just from getting the hands-on experience of seeing everything!  Thanks Grandpa and Grandma for the passes :)
 
Clouded leopard.  Absolutely beautiful!
  

This is the first time we have seen the leopard this close to the fence!  My youngest was actually less than 3 feet from the leopard and the leopard opened his mouth and tried to paw at my son!  My son thought it was awesome and we couldn't believe how big his teeth were!

 
They had some pretty cute zoo keepers there at the zoo today ;)



Sloth bear - This was so cool because we were on a stone bridge looking for this bear and one of the zookeepers called for him, and he was actually underneath of us!  He came right out from under the stone bridge!
 

There goes the bear to eat in his cave!

Tiger
 

This tiger was definitely looking for a mate and was roaring at the top of his lungs!  He actually jumped up to this pedestal in one leap from sitting down, and it's a good 10 to 12 feet off the ground!

There were two baby elephants born within this past year!  So cute!


 

White Rhino

Okapi

Zebra

 
It's such an experience going to the zoo because it is different every time you go!  What is your favorite animal or memory at the zoo?

Genesis 21 and 25 (Testing Your Faith) and Learning Numbers 13 and 14 (Week of February 10, 2014)

This week included an awesome field trip the zoo and lots of arts and crafts projects for Valentine's Day but we also got our math and reading lessons in! 

Monday:

Read "God's Friend: Issac is Born"(Genesis 21) and "God Tests Abraham" in our "Jesus Calling" child's devotional by Sarah Young.  It was about sacrificing Issac to test Abraham's faith and when God saw how faithful Abraham was, he let Issac live.  It also explained how and why Abraham is called "Father Abraham," who is a great-great-great...grandfather of Jesus.

We also did Lesson 29 in "100 Easy Lessons."  B did a great job of answering his comprehension questions and writing today included u,n,13, and thirteen. 

For math, G traced circles and had to color the circles on his worksheet.  B had to find the number 13 in a number find, cut and paste 13 cupcakes, draw 13 balloons and we counted from 1 to 13. 

We ended our homeschool day with ABCmouse.com (G learned about letter C) and we did some Playdoh fun.

Tuesday:

*Look at post for Field Trip: Day at the Zoo!*

Wednesday:


Read "Jacob, a Man with Two Names: Jacob and Esau" (Genesis 25).  Jacob tricks his father, Issac into thinking he is his older brother who was supposed to receive his father's blessing and inherit the land when his father passed.  He then ran away in fear of Esau killing him and ends up having a dream where God promises him that He will bless his land and that he will have many children.  Jacob wakes up and promises to give God 1/10 of all back to God and that He will be the only one and true God for Jacob.

~Side note here: I didn't grow up with a religious background but my parents did the best they could and taught me about God and how to pray.  It has been awesome to read these Biblical stories and see where it says these things in the Bible.  My husband and I felt called to start tithing 10 percent last year and it has been amazing how God has worked in our lives.  We are honoring Him and thanking Him by giving Him the "first fruits of our labor" as one of my friend's from church says. 

I used to think how can people do that?  How can they give up 10 percent and still live without being in debt?  We were in a position where we were literally living paycheck to paycheck and credit cards like many people do today.  My husband and I felt like God said, "Go ahead, test your faith in Me and see what I can do with that 90 percent."  So we did.  And God has shown us over and over again, how He blesses the faithful.  If you would like to discuss this, feel free to message me or leave a comment below :)

We worked on Valentine's Day cards for the boys friends in Awanas.  I combined two ideas on found on Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/pin/492510909221556538/ for the front and http://www.pinterest.com/pin/492510909221513180/ for the back) or you can look to the right in my Pinterest widget and it is under my "Holidays" board.) 

Their Awana's verse this week was part of John 17:17 "your word is truth."

Our math lesson, we did largest vs. smallest and they had to circle the largest and smallest object in each sequence of pictures.

I printed out a picture of a penny with Abraham Lincoln on it and my G recognized him immediately as Abraham, even though we learned about him last week!  Yay, they reassures me they are listening and learning!  Love these moments :)

We also had some time today to get outside for fresh air and mail out some Valentines to our out of state and out of town relatives.

Thursday:

Homeschooling two different age groups even though they are close together in age.  My oldest works on largest and smallest group sequencing and my youngest worked on colors and shapes.

Lesson 30 in "100 Easy Lessons."  B got introduced to new words: little, lick and sick.  He did great at comprehension and his writing was 14, fourteen, u, and f.

B cut and pasted 14 penguins and counted 1-14.

G did some ABCmouse.com lessons and learned about the letter D, and colored some coloring pages.

Today was a short lesson day, because we had dentist appointments and had to drop Daddy off at work and then go pick him up so it was a crazy day but thank God we homeschool and have the flexibility to do this!

Friday:

A drawing by my four year old of Tree Fu Tom and his friends!  That is the boys' new favorite show!

We did some paint for fun and the boys learned about how the colors mix together when you clean the paintbrush off in the water cup!  It was a great motor skills project and color recognition for G.  Art and science lesson in one! 

The boys did ABCmouse.com and learned about letter R, number 10 and penguins.  I love how we saw penguins at the zoo this week, there was penguins in our math lesson this week and then there was penguins in ABCmouse.com!  I am not that good and I know that is God connecting the dots for us to have the boys learn!


The boys loved seeing the water change color every time they had to clean their brush to change colors!

My oldest painted a picture of his cousin whom he absolutely adores!


Hope you had a great week and God bless!



Saturday, February 15, 2014

How I Homeschool Pre-k with Preschool

       
 
This is our main classroom right here in the living room and dining room :)

       I am going to start this out by saying, that there is no right or wrong way to homeschool your child, any age.  There are many different methods of learning out there and you can have each of your children learn in their own unique way.  There are also many different types of parenting out there and none of us parent the same way so how could we homeschool the same way!

        All I am expressing here, is how we homeschool.  It is not perfect, but it is perfect for how we need it.  I encourage you to find a peace where you are comfortable at what your children are learning.  Only you and your children will know this and it make take a while to get into a steady routine.  As long as they are learning (and they will!), that is all that matters. 

        Here is how my first week went as a Homeschool Mom.  After months of reading many insightful books and finding all the places where I could find curriculum and ideas, and trusting in the Lord that I could do this, I dove right in!  Only to learn that by the second day, my oldest son (4 years old at the time) and I were both pulling our hair out and angry at each other.  What had I done wrong?  I got all the materials ready and printed out worksheets and why wasn't this working?  I thought I was going to be able to teach him how to write the alphabet in a month!  The experienced homeschool Moms out there, I hear you snickering! :)  And to the new homeschool Mom, I will show you how and why this is not the best way to go about it.

      I went to a homeschool support meeting that night and the experienced homeschool Mom there let us know it's not okay if you're child doesn't write the perfect A (it was actually a B we were struggling with that day!) or get something the first time they are taught  but that they will learn!  Homeschool support groups are amazing and that would probably be my first recommendation is to check your local area for one.  My local homeschool group has meetings to help and encourage you, field trips, meet ups at parks, sports teams, and classes to help with subjects you may not know how to teach.  And you know what?  My son nailed writing the B that very next day!

     Ok, so now you have the knowledge, support and a plan of what you want to do.  What is next?  Many people ask is there a classroom in my house?  Well, yes and no!  We have a three bedroom home so we have a master bedroom, and my two sons share a room and the third room we use as an office, but we call it the classroom.  Do our lessons go on in the classroom?  Nope!  If you have a kitchen or dining room table and a nice comfy couch in your family room, you are all set!  Most of our learning takes place in our family room and dining room!  And learning takes place everywhere.  There is no limit or set space you need to homeschool in.  We even have learning days outside when the weather is nice.

     The items in our classroom/office include all the things I need for homeschooling like the computer to print out worksheets or fun printables.  Pinterest is awesome for this by the way!  There is amazing resources out there.  Please check out my Pinterest page to get some ideas!  We have a couch and a TV in here also so it's like a media room really.  The boys have books, board games, puzzles, toys, a costume bin (they love dressing up as knights or super heroes!), and most of our supplies are in here.  Items like paint, stamps, crayons, markers, construction paper, laminator, educational worksheet books, and learning games and magazines.

 
Our Office/Classroom
 
 
Right behind the door is a shoe organizer that I hold a lot of our crafts for projects and to the right is a closet full of toys, games, and supplies for our homeschool.

     What does a normal day look like for us?  Some days are different but for the most part, we try to stick to the same timing for everything.  Homeschooling allows flexibility, which is amazing!  The boys or I may be sick on some days, may have a field trip or outing planned, doctor visits, family visiting, special occasions or Daddy may have a day off during the week.  We usually have homeschool on Saturday when this happens or we have a Daddy Homeschool Day!  Daddy usually gets to be at home on the days where we have something really fun planned!  I think he does this on purpose!  But he also likes working with the boys with my oldest son's reading lesson or helping on ABCmouse.com lessons.  ABCmouse.com is another amazing resource also for this age group! 

      My sons are awake in the morning by about 7:30 a.m. so we go downstairs and eat some breakfast.  This is the time I have in the morning to do my devotionals and have a cup of coffee before our homeschool day starts.  The boys look at their books, play with toys, or watch some of their educational shows. 

       By about 9:30 a.m. we are ready to start homeschool work.  We start the day with "The Pledge of Allegiance" and prayer.  I think this is so important.  It is honoring God and country, and the freedoms we have as a homeschool family.  After this we will have a children's devotional.  Our first book we did this year was," The Story for Little Ones: Discovering the Bible in Pictures" by: Max Lucado and illustrated by: Josee Masse.  Right now, we are reading Sarah Young's "Jesus Calling Bible Storybook."  We just read one chapter and discuss the story and then we either move onto a math or reading lesson.

      I taught my oldest son how to write the alphabet first before I started reading lessons.  He already knew his phonics so I wanted him to know how to write the letters so that he understood both the phonics and written letter.  We did about two letters a week until we got to the end of the alphabet.  Please look into my archives to see the fun we had with our lessons and get some ideas!

     Reading lessons come from the book, "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" by: Siegfried Engelmann, Phyllis Haddox, and Elaine Bruner.  This has been a wonderful book and you literally just follow along with the lesson plan given in each lesson.  There are also flash cards you can purchase and there is a link in my Pinterest page under the "Homeschool Reading" board for free flash cards by Donna Young.  We started out with two reading lessons a day, but are now slowly going to three reading lessons a week. 

    If you are teaching your four year old pre-K and you have children younger than that, I completely understand what you are going through but it can be done!  It is going to be tough at first.  My youngest did not like not having Mommy's 100 percent attention when I started reading lessons with brother.  But I got him age appropriate puzzles or toys on the floor and told him that was his schoolwork and that he had to be quiet while Mommy worked with brother.  He soon got used to this idea and he liked having his own schoolwork just like brother.  I also print out extra worksheets of what my oldest is working on, and he loves that! 

    Math lessons consist of learning how to write numbers, one to one ratios, shapes, early addition and subtraction and comparisons like smallest to largest.  There are many ideas in my archives or on my Pinterest "Homeschool Math" board.  There are also educational booklets you can get in teaching stores and have even seen them at craft stores like Michael's or Joann's, and even in Target and Walmart.  I get my worksheets from these or from fun stuff found on Pinterest!  The boys favorite activity is color, cut and paste worksheets and this helps with their cutting and motor skills.  I also bring in Playdoh and we make fun things to show numbers and we have counting bears and counting mats. 

    While your oldest is working on their lesson, your youngest (preschool age) can work on colors, shapes, and alphabet.  You will be amazed at how much they retain, even just listening to you teach the oldest child.  My youngest is also getting to the point now where he wants to sit at the table and see what brother is working on so I give him his own preschool worksheets.

     Science and social studies is not big yet for our homeschool.  I think it is more important to focus on the Bible, reading and math for now and gradually get into science and social studies.  I try to do something from this once a week like teach them about animals or what it would be like to be a fire fighter or about a President.  I taught my youngest who is almost 3 years old, about Abraham Lincoln being on the penny and he can recognize him now when I show him his picture!

     We do art, music and physical education too!  Art is painting or coloring, or doing a fun arts and crafts project, Playdoh, or making a gift for someone.  We like to dance and sing and be silly in the living room and this also gets the wiggles out.  We go on walks, exercise, and swim when its warm for physical education.

    We usually wrap up our homeschool day around 11 a.m. so anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours is plenty!  Many authors suggest not to formally teach until about six years old, but I find that if you make it fun for them, they don't even realize they are learning! 

      I let them unwind after this for about an hour and then we have lunch.  After lunch, is "Quiet time" or "nap time."  My oldest, who is almost five years old, is hit or miss with naps these days.  On days he won't nap, I have him lay down quietly and look at his books play with toys quietly while his brother sleeps.  It is a good time for us as Moms to relax and take care of anything that we need to do like catching up on emails or a good book, yoga or whatever it is that you do to relax.  It is good to be relaxed and have this time to yourself.  It is healthy not only for you, but also your spouse and children!

     After "Quiet Time", we go outside and play or read books together.  I try to get caught up on laundry or dishes and we start getting the house clean and I get dinner started.  My husband works until about 5 p.m. so we are usually ready to eat by the time he comes home.  After dinner, we relax and talk about our day and we are trying to get better about having family Bible time together.

    That is it.  Again, it is not perfect but it is perfect for us. I don't even strive to be perfect because there is no such thing.  How do you homeschool your day?  Was this article helpful at all?  I would love to hear any feedback!  Thanks for reading and God bless you on this homeschool journey!

   




    

Friday, February 14, 2014

Favorite Moments Friday



Happiness at the dentist's office believe or not!  The boys' pediatric dentist's office is super kid friendly and they let the kids play with toys, iPads and watch Disney movies!  They don't even mind having their teeth cleaned!  And Momma gets to wait in the waiting room with coffee!  This a win-win :)

What was your favorite moment this week?  Post about it at The Favorites Moment Friday!  Hope you had an amazing week!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

New Subscriber Freebie for Vocabulary Bridges from English to Latin and Greek

http://homeschoolgiveaways.com/2014/02/subscriber-only-freebie-vocabulary-bridges-from-english-to-latin-greek/

Fruits of Labor and Waiting for God's timing


 
            Today, we noticed the fruits of our labor after some hard work.  What started out as a little tiny plant has grown into something large!  We watered it and as it began to grow; we had to get a wire funnel to hold up the weight of it.  After several months, we saw no buds growing and we were stumped.  Why was there no fruit growing?

            We tried different things like plant food and after a frustrated while we just let it be but we continued to water it.  Let it be known that we are trying to grow this in a bin on our back lanai because we live in a townhouse and have no backyard to grow it in.  Well, after letting it be and do its own thing, we noticed not only a bud but we have an almost grown tomato! 

            We also have 3 more blueberry sized tomatoes coming in and there are about 20 flower buds that will turn into tomatoes!  Sounds like a small victory but we were amazed to have grown produce on our lanai, having no experience!

            I couldn’t help but think of Psalm 46:10 of “Be still, and know that I am God.”  How many times do we feel the need to take everything on and then get frustrated and not give things time to grow in God’s timing? 

            Is there a time where something like this happened to you?  Or are you a plant expert that can give us some pointers?  I would love to hear from you!

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Pennington Adopt-a-School Program

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Pennington had a wonderful surprise for us Friday evening!  We received a package at our door and upon opening it, we learned that we were chosen as an Adopt-a-School Program where we can apply for a mini grant to help us Celebrate Birds!  They sent us 10 child sized binoculars, a bird feeder, seeds, and lots of information including lesson plans, coupons for Pennington products and an awesome way to make a bird feeder out of a 2 liter soda bottle!

Here are some sites to check out to look at the bird curriculum from grades K-12!

https://www.facebook.com/PenningtonBirds/app_376917672388539

http://www.birdsleuth.org/Pennington/


 
This is very near and dear to my husband.  It's been a little over a year since his grandmother passed away and bird watching is something they used to do together when he was little.  It really touched his heart that we were given such incredible resources that he can share that same love of birds he and his grandmother shared, with our sons.  We have three other families that homeschool at our church so we are going to invite them to the park with us so we can all learn together!  We are so incredibly thankful to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Pennington for choosing our homeschool for this and we will keep you all posted with our scientific results!