BJ surprised me today with a brand new laptop. I'm not braggin' or anything. My old one had been acting funny: screen going black, shutting off/on by itself, freezing up, etc. (I guess just PC sort of stuff). BJ said my laptop was old - circa 1994. I guess that's old in laptop years. I was just now getting used to it and having a new found love for it. I've started using my laptop on the kitchen counter as opposed to going into the office to get on the new mega-machine that BJ ordered a few weeks ago. The new mega-machine is nice - 2 wide panel flatscreens and lots of memory (so I'm told). But, whenever I go in the office the little tykes follow me in and then they get into lots of trouble with all the books, paper, pens, drawers full of stuff they've never seen before, computer, outlets, paper shredder, etc. So its best that I stay out of the office unless everyone is sleeping. Simultaneous sleep in this house is rare so I was on the mega-machine after 9:30 p.m. Until I realized I could leave my laptop on the kitchen counter and use it whenever I needed. I actually pulled up recipes yesterday and had fast access to them right there in the kitchen. I know this is sort of a no-brainer for most of you, but I hated to waste valuable counter space for a laptop. But it works out great and now I'm spoiled and can't go without it on my counter. And then it started acting up and I got totally frustrated. So BJ came home today with a new, pretty HP box with my new, pretty HP laptop in it. I like it and wanted to break it in with a new blog post. So here it is!
Here are two church plants started by friends of ours: Arrowhead Church and Ridge Church. Take a minute to check out the exciting things they are doing and the people they are reaching. It's awesome to see God working in so many interesting ways.
"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6)
"And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." (Deut. 6:7)
A few months ago we made the decision to homeschool Lily when she starts Kindergarten next year. It was a decision that weighed heavy on my heart until I finally gave in and told God I was up for the challenge. And since I'm a type-A personality (God made me that way quite possibly for a time like this) I've already begun planning and preparing. The first step in the process was to ensure I had a good handle on our household chores so that I can be sure to keep up with the added work load of homeschooling. I created a Family Chore Chart that lists chores for each day so that by the end of the week every thing gets done: laundry, kitchen, floors, bathrooms, bedding & towels, dusting, sorting, groceries, and picking up. Of course there are always extra projects and we just squeeze those in when needed.
I've also sorted out all of the kids toys and put most of them away (I stole this idea from Michelle Duggar, the mother of 18 and counting). The idea behind this is to help children focus on just one or two toys at a time, and then they learn to clean up before getting out other toys. This has already helped me out tremendously since there aren't tons of toys scattered across the house all day long creating more work for me. I've sorted toys and put them in labeled totes: trains, cars, Barbies, blocks, crayons, play food & kitchen stuff, etc. And then the totes are kept in a location out of reach from the kids. If they want to play with them they simply ask me and I will get them out for them after they clean up their prior mess. Although, they have instant access to their few favorites in the toy boxes (Lily's dinosaurs and Schaeffer's cars). I've already noticed that Lily will stay focused longer on a set of toys when other things are out of view and not creating a distraction for her. She has a tendency to bounce around between toys and never complete a thought or series of events, and she even gets overwhelmed by the clutter (this is typical of children with sensory processing disorder). So this type of organization is important to help her learn focus and concentration.
One of my favorite recent projects, BJ helped me turn a coat closet into a supply closet where I can organize and stack all of our coloring books, paper, craft supplies, games, puzzles, etc. I love this closet! It's like my sanctuary. When we want to do a fun crafty project I just reach for the labeled boxes, get out the supplies and then return them once we are done. This closet has simplified my life so much!
Meantime, I've been praying over my homeschool goals. I had read that it's wise to create some goals so that everything you do can be filtered through them. And since I just began researching curriculum options I now see why having written goals is important ~ there are a million options and it can get overwhelming fast! Having my goals helps me see if the curriculum and the tons of ideas out there are going to stack up against my goals. All my goals come from a Biblical worldview, which is very important to me. So I included the verses that support them. I hope to memorize these scriptures over time and teach them to my kids.
My homeschool goals are to lead my children to:
1. Have a vibrant, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. · I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20) · For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) · For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
2. Love the Lord their God with all their hearts, soul, minds, and strength. · And he [Jesus] said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37) · But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul. (Joshua 22:5)
3. Love others. · You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:39) · Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:12-14)
4. Enthusiastically embrace the Truth; love righteousness and hate evil. · I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. (Romans 16:19) · Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2)
5. Be wise in the LORD and to be trained in the Truth of God’s Word as it relates to every academic discipline. · The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. (Proverbs 1:7) · Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24) · And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)
6. Connect the Bible to real world so that they have a proper foundation for understanding this world in which we live, and therefore, making them able to answer many challenges they will face in our culture. · For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:11) · So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.” (Isaiah 28:16)
7. Persevere and find joy in learning and growing into the people God desires us to be. · For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete. (Deuteronomy 16:15) · Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Psalm 51:12) · Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1)
There's so much more to do, but I'm grateful that I have a full year to research, plan, and pray. I'm really excited about all the ideas and boundless opportunities in educating my children.
This post is mainly for my friend Staci who inspired me to get a ring sling. After some research, and discovering that ring slings can cost anywhere from $35 to $60, I decided to make my own. I found directions on how to make a no-sew sling (but actually my mom hemmed the fabric so that it was reversible and no selvage ends). I've enjoyed using my new sling and I have a black one and a brown one (pictured) that I simply change out when I want a different color. For the price of one $35 sling I could have half a dozen different fabrics. Instead of purchasing the more expensive and lightweight aluminum rings at http://www.slingrings.com/ I purchased my steel ones at Lowe's. They are heavier and they are only available in 2 inch, whereas, 3 inch is more recommended especially if you are using heavier weight fabric. But, my $1.00 rings work just fine (and they are rated for use up to 200 lbs - I could carry BJ in the my sling if I wanted...if only I were that strong!).
One of my kids favorite things is when I make them a fruit/veggie tray. They can clear out an entire tray in less than 2 hours. I guess they enjoy the presentation of all the colors and getting to pick whatever fruit and veggies they want off the tray. It has definitely been the easiest way to get them to eat fruits and veggies and its a lot easier for me to slice them all at once.
Lily loves to run! And what better outlet for her need to run than a kids' race. Before I ran in the Fireball Classic 5k, a fun nighttime race commemorating the 4th of July, they held a fun run for kids. Lily was so excited when we told her she was going to run in a race. She even gave herself pep-talks before we left the house. "You have to run fast. Fast Lily. You can do it!" is what Lily chanted as she practiced her running skills around the house as we got ready to leave. Indeed, she was very fast (well, for a 4 year old). She was so focused and stayed with the pack as they raced down the trail, and she even had to swerve to miss a 3-kid pile-up at the start. This will be another annual event for our family.
It was a little bit of a whirlwind getting Schaeffer's 2nd birthday party planned just 6 weeks after having Griffin. But I would not in a million years skip out on celebrating such a momentous occasion in the life of my Little Big Man! Schaeffer loves cars and trucks and really anything with wheels on it. Our good friend Casey made Schaeffer's cake with all his favorite things: TRUCKS and edible dirt (cocoa)! Schaeff took the opportunity to drive the trucks around on Birthday Cake Lane, and I didn't have the heart to stop him. After all, it was his birthday!
Our local library system hosts an annual Children's Reading Festival at the World's Fair Park. This was our first year attending and the kids really enjoyed themselves. It was cool to meet the author of Llama Llama Red Pajama, Anna Dewdney. This has been one of Lily's and Schaeffer's favorite books. On the park grounds were lots of kids activities and even book signing by Anna Dewdney and other authors of childrens books. We will definitely do this again next year!