I love this quote from G.K. Chesterton, from his book Orthodoxy:

“A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, ‘Do it again’; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”

We are wrapping up our school year in time to plan for the next one. And as a grown-up, I can face the days ahead with dread or I can face them with excitement. Am I wishing I didn’t have to teach Kindergarten again for the 5th time? Or am I excited to share Kindergarten with my 5th little blessing? Am I dreading teaching our writing program for *gasp* the fourth time? Or am I looking forward to what my energetic, intelligent children will come up with this year?

I can choose to be that grown-up who is bored with learning the same facts again, or I can choose to remember that these facts are new for some of my kids, and for the others, they are still interesting even if they have heard them before. I can find new ways to explain the information, grapple with new questions, and be excited myself for the years ahead. Or I can go through school bored and boring. But if I do that, I am not allowed to complain that my children don’t like school or that they groan about it. I accept that my attitude, my preparation, my outlook all influence my children’s spirits – in regard to school and to life.

And since I don’t want to do anything to dampen their “fierce and free” spirits, I choose to revel in repetition. I choose joy and excitement. For a teacher, there is nothing like the feeling of seeing lightbulb moments in your students. The joy they feel when they learn something new or understand something for the first time or create something unique and beautiful becomes my joy. And my joy in turn inspires them to learn, understand, and create.

So Father, give me new eyes for old information. Give me new excitement for old plans. I want to teach diligently. I want to teach joyfully. I never want to tire of these precious years with young students. Make me young like you, Father. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.


Homeschooling 2013-2014

A peek into our homeschool year:

LW 7th grade – Challenge A at Classical Conversations. LW is drawing the world free-hand from memory, labeling all countries and capitals, as well as many geographic features; reading 10 “classic” books and writing a paper for each one; reading 2 apologetics books and learning how to defend her faith; writing a science paper each week about covering differing topics in the plant and animal world; learning pre-Algebra; oh, and learning Latin. This is her fourth week, and she is enjoying it. Lots of work and very time-consuming, but she is a bright girl and is doing well!

LV 4th grade – Classical Conversations Foundations & Essentials, Singapore math 5A, Pathway readers, Spelling Power (though I’m not sure how necessary it is when he tests into the 8th grade at age 9), My Father’s World 1850-Modern, and Latina Christiana (thought I’d start him a little early and hopefully give him a little bit of an edge when he gets to Challenge).

LM 2nd grade – My Father’s World 1850-Modern, All About Spelling Level 2, Singapore 1B, and Explode the Code, Primary Language Lessons. She is a school-phenom, gets all her work done at the speed of light!

LD Kindergarten – I can tell he’s going to be another LV. He’s starting to sound out words already. Just picking it up so quickly. Also doing Life of Fred Book A (the jury is still out on that one), and Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (my favorite learn-to-read guide!).

LB PreK 3 – Heart of Dakota Little Hands to Heaven. Can I tell you that I LOVE this program? I really LOVE it. I love the alphabet poems, the dramatic play, the Bible, devotions and Singing Bible. I LOVE whole thing. Wish I would have found this for my other children when they were in preschool.

LC – hanging out and nursing 101. Seems pretty good at it so far!

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Homeschool Week 15

Back to full force:

Latin – we continue using English from the Roots Up for Latin vocabulary. I love the simplicity of the program, and it really does increase your vocabulary.

Bible – we are memorizing the full chapter of 1 Corinthians 13. It’s such a beautiful chapter, full of such awesome truth, and so hard to do! But with God’s perfecting love and grace, we are working on loving each other better! We also continue reading through Luke and utilizing Victor Journey thru the Bible.

Writing – LW’s writing skills are really improving using Writing Strands. WS4 is a jump up from WS3, which I think is intentional. She’s writing some really great paragraphs.

History – I really enjoy the Story of the World. It’s an easy read and a good blend of fact and story. This week we are read about Islam. We began by talking about the pillars of Islam and praying for Muslims all over the world. Then we read about Muhammad and the history of Islam’s growth. LV was a little confused about the reference to the angel Gabriel teaching Muhammad, so we had to talk about false spirits and how there is only one Truth.

Science – lungs, voice, and germs were all topics we hit this week.

Art – we continued listening to Mozart and had some lessons about drawing the perfect circle and the color wheel.

Kindergarten – we finished up with the letter f. LM is really clicking on the vowel blend worksheet and the reading of short vowel words. It’s fun to see her excitement when she reads a word or a sentence. Plus I love the Bible/character tie-ins to the letter being studied. She’s really blossoming, growing from my most difficult, willful toddler to a very helpful, thoughtful child.

LD & LB are still hanging out. LD loves, loves, loves worksheets and cutting and pasting. He wants to “do school,” and doesn’t want to wait. I’m going to reschedule things so that LW can do school with him during their time together. I don’t want to do workbooks during preschool time because I want that to remain fun for LB, too. So we continue using bubbles, sidewalk chalk, puzzles, learning toys, etc. for preschool time.

Homeschool Week 14

Here is what we learned:

Bible: We are studying Jesus’ life and parables now. We stop every few verses and discuss what Jesus meant and how that should affect how we live. I remember reading somewhere a person saying that he was so enamored with Jesus in the Bible that he felt if Jesus were a made-up character, he would be inclined to worship the author. (Hope my paraphrase makes sense.) I totally knew what he was saying because Jesus is so awesome and so powerful and dynamic that you just have to love Him, whether or not He is real. But of course He is real so no need worshiping the author, unless you mean the Author!

History: We learned all about Constantine, the Byzantine empire and Constantinople. I love that so much of what we believe doctrinally was being debated even then, and in the midst of persecution, believers held strong to the core faith that we still follow. In this day and age when truth is so debated, it’s nice to know I hold with those who gave their lives defending the Truth.

Science: We learned about the lungs and made models of them.

Kindergarten: We learned the letter f sound. We talked about frogs and how important it is that we use our tongues wisely just like the frog. Have I mentioned how much I love this program?

We are currently reading Twice Freed by Patricia St. John. Seriously moms, if you haven’t read any of her books, check them out because they are AWESOME! And we started Jotham’s Journey for Advent season. So far we really enjoy it. Thank you, Marnie & Boompa, for such a great Christmas gift last year. We had to wait a whole year to read it but it was worth it!

Week 5 Update

AKA, the week I got sick and was unable to do it all. Or the week I learned you didn’t have to check off every box to be successful. But I digress… Here is what we DID do:

Math – at least some…

English – a few lessons… maybe…

Science – We did make a model of the tongue and talked about taste buds.

History – We read a few chapters of Augustus Caesar’s World, but I quickly realized there was no way we could possibly finish it and I just decided that since the kids were not really enjoying it anyway, I was going to let it go.

Spelling & Handwriting & Writing & Reading & Spanish – not sure, but I bet at least something was done in these areas. Actually, I dropped spelling altogether with LV for a few weeks because he is ahead of the game anyway. LW’s spelling is self-taught, so she continued in her workbook.

Art & Read-Alouds and Music – stopped for the time being. I hope to pick them up again someday soon.

Kindergarten – we continued with the worksheets but stopped the other activities. Hoping to get back to them because they are really the fun stuff.

So, in conclusion, I learned that homeschool is not my life. That there are things more important than school sometimes. I learned that I have some of the BEST friends in the world: friends who prayed for me diligently, friends who cooked meals for me, friends who came and took my kids for me, or friends who came over and watched my kids while I made various doctor visits. I learned that my mother (who came down and stayed with me for 10 days), my mother-in-law, and my father-in-law are three of the most awesome people on the planet. Actually, I already knew that, but I remembered it anew.

My kids learned how to care for their mother and how to be in charge of themselves. They learned to trust others and look out for their siblings when they were away from home. Everyone who came over or who took the littles couldn’t help but comment how LW was especially adept at caring for her siblings and looking after them (hence the reason why I call her Little Woman).

So that was our week 5 update. No pictures, but lots of learning after all.

Week 4 Homeschool

Here is a little rundown (at first I typed fundown and though I would say to keep it like that, my kids might argue it is more run and less fun sometimes) of our 4th week:

History: More Rome. I find the whole Marc Antony, Cleopatra & Octavian story fascinating. I really never realized all the deceit, intrigue, scandal, money, and sex were involved. I don’t think the kids are understanding absolutely everything, but they are very interested in the story nontheless. And suicide by asp is quite the gutsy way to go.

Science: We discussed our sense of smell and the kids made a paper model of a human head with the sensory organs. I gotta find some butcher paper for science for LM & LD. Anyone know where to get butcher paper? As if there is a butcher around somewhere…

I started to read aloud the Bronze Bow. I’m afraid this story might have to wait until the kids are older because they are not really getting it and are not really enjoying it, either. I finished up Detectives in Togas and they just loved that story.

Kindergarten: This week was all about kangaroos. LM made a cute kangaroo pencil holder. We had fun learning about lots of different animals that hop, and of course she is just improving every week with her reading. She knows all the letters and sounds and for all those we’ve studied so far, she can put short vowel words together. I’m so excited about My Father’s World Kindergarten. It is such a great program – lots of fun and learning and so very, very easy to implement.

LB & LD are doing well. I need to make more of an effort to ensure that we get preschool time done every day. It seems as though I tend to skip Bible and preschool when I need extra time, as if those weren’t really 2 of the most important things I should do every day. Gotta prioritize and then stick to those priorities, no matter what other school does or doesn’t get done.

Well, that was our week in a nutshell. Of course, it was much more full with math and English and Latin and art and spelling and writing. But these are just some highlights. Oh, and I almost forgot something very important. We found two, not one but two, stray kittens on a walk around the neighborhood. Now, we just gave our cat to my aunt because we couldn’t handle a cat anymore (and he bit us, a lot, really hard) but I couldn’t just leave these two bitty baby kittens on the street. I’m sure they aren’t even fully weaned yet, but they can eat solid food and drink water. Now… what to do with them. Anyone want a cute, cuddly kitten?

Unequal Yoke School

I was reading an article today in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine about guilt. In one section, the author made the point that Christians should not send their children to public school. She quoted 2 Corinthians 6:14-16. And mine eyes were thus opened. This scripture is usually applied to Christian/Non-Christian marriage or friendship. But read them with new eyes: Read them as they relate to Christian/Public School.

14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

Christian, are you yoking your children with unbelievers? Are you trying to harmonize Christ and Belial? Are you forcing your child to fellowship with unbelievers? Are you sending your child, who is hopefully a living temple for God, into a temple filled with idols?

I hear all kinds of excuses why “I’m not called to homeschool.” But I wonder… are you “called” to yoke your children to unbelievers? Non-homeschooling friends, please don’t be offended. I’m certainly not judging anyone, and definitely not anyone specifically. I’m just asking the question that I think makes sense in light of 2 Corinthians 6.