The Living Homeschool

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Can’t Wait for Spring!

Growing up in Florida I had no idea about the ‘winter blues’. I knew that I didn’t like the cold, especially when it was wet. When I say cold,  I mean ‘less than 75 degrees’. Born and raised in central Florida, I had no need for coats or long johns. For Floridians, Winter and Autumn are seasons that are not normally experienced. No matter what time of the year, it was shorts and flip-flops weather. Oh to remember those care-free years.

Fast forward to the present, this is my second Winter in NW Arkansas and it is cold! Now when I say cold….. I mean ‘less than 35 degrees’!  Even though I’m frozen to the bone, when snow is on the ground I feel a sense of peace. The richness of it’s aura envelopes me and I don’t want it to end. The beauty from Autumn to Spring is breathtaking and all of the changes in aroma, color and texture make me smile and consider everything that God has made. I have come to appreciate the season of Winter and am glad that I can share this experience with my beloved family.

With Spring around the corner I find myself ready to bask in the sun. I now understand the reference of  ‘winter blues’ and how the lack of sunshine effects a persons’ attitude and energy levels. My own experience this year was increased aggitation and decreased energy. Which is kind of an oxymoron, if you think about it. Don’t you need energy to get aggitated? Well, tell that to my body! I just have to keep on reminding myself that I need to relax(for the aggitation) and get moving(for the low energy). It will all make sense one day. Right?

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The New Plan!

This ‘school year’ has been in the planning stages since the beginning of the calendar year. I tend to have a hard time narrowing down what will work for our family and budget. It is a difficult thing to decide on what your children will be learning and what you will use to guide your teachings. After all, you want to give the best to them and want them to succeed. And with all of this weighing on a mother’s heart, it can be a very daunting task. You pray for guidance and answers while hoping your decision is the correct one.

So long story short……We are going to continue to use Horizons for math for all. It went well last year and we will use it until it no longer serves it’s purpose. Kyra is in it’s last year this year and will be ready for Algebra next year. We are  starting to look at programs that will fit our needs for next year. Any suggestions? We’re all EARS!! LOL

The younger two boys are using Learning Language Arts Through Literature, the blue and red books, for their phonics. Kyra and Zach are using Painless Grammar. And we will be utilizing copywork for penmanship for all and grammar reinforcement for the older two.

For Bible studies,we were blessed by another homeschooling family to be able to use their curriculum, Family Bible Lessons.

I ‘stumbled’ upon a GREAT history program called TruthQuest. It is based on HIStory through the ages. It is a wonderful addition to our studies and we plan to use it throughout our homeschooling  journey. Michelle Miller, the writer, has a yahoo group that you can join to ask questions before and/or after purchase of her product. The ladies on there are extremely helpful in answering any questions you might have on scheduling, implementing, etc. Michelle is also a frequent commenter and is very willing to offer help with her first-hand knowledge. I would highly recommend thus curriculum for any type of homeschooler as it can be used with all styles.(Charlotte Mason, Classical, Unit studies, Unschooling, etc.) 

For geography we are going through Ann Voskamp’s: A Child’s Geography, Explore His Earth V1. It is a highly awarded and well received geography course with a Christian emphasis.

And last but not least, we have our science program, Christian Kids Explore Biology. This course presents biology the way God made it. It is user friendly and is laid out by day for you. There is a supplemental booklist in the appendices to help with digging deeper when there is interest. This is a good program for elementary students to get their ‘feet wet’ with science.

Oops! Almost forgot our nature studies. At least one day a week we are going to observe this wonderful world God made for us and expand our thoughts to paper. Sometimes we will draw what we see and label it, be it plant and/or animal. Other times we will do leaf rubbings, dry flowers, planting, crafts, etc. Whatever floats our fancy for that day. There will be days that we just go into our own backyard or maybe the park. And sometimes we will make special trips to zoos, national parks, flower or butterfly gardens, etc.

With all of this we will of course be reading from our Bible daily, along with a ‘free’ read-aloud(we are starting with On The Back of the North Wind) and one for history(We are learning from early explorers to 1800 this year).

I pray that this list will be a blessing for someone out there in cyber-space that has been looking for that ‘perfect’ thing to use in their homeschool. As for our home, we know that wherever the good Lord leads us is where we need to be. And just maybe, He might lead one of you to some of the same things for your family.

Many Blessings,

Vicki B.

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I’ve finished some books!

Since June 1st I have read Don’t Make Me Count to Three: a Mom’s Look at Heart-Oriented Discipline by Ginger Plowman, Sibling’s Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, Parenting By The Spirit: raising godly children in a godless world by Sally Hohnberger and The Alchemist: a fable about following your dream by Paulo Coelho. And yes, I have been pouring into the parenting books lately.

Sibling’s Without Rivalry described how to get your children to get along in detail. It was written by a mother that counseled parenting  classes and it had many suggestions with plenty of  example stories. She told about some of the things she went through as a mother and followed her class in her writing.Although it did not have a christian influence, the topics were covered so well that I would recommend it for anyone looking to end the tension between siblings.

Don’t Make Me Count to Three was written by a christian mother that describes how to change your child’s heart to want to be obedient. She  described several events that took place in her home life where she applies the Bible’s teachings. She goes through the disciplining process scripturally. There are many references to different passages throughout the book and she even has a chart that has scriptures pertaining to certain issues/traits for a quick look-up. I highly recommend this book! It is one that I will refer back to often. When I get it back that is….it’s already being loaned out to a friend!

Parenting By The Spirit was read after Don’t Make Me Count To Three and I wish I had read it before. It was written “to help you be the parent you need to be” and is a parenting book that works on you first. It is biblically based and written by a christian mother to help you in your journey with parenting. She has multiple examples from her life that help to give you the skills for better parenting. It is a must read for all parents!

Last but not least, The Alchemist. This was my “free read” for the month. LOL! It turns out to be very deep and exciting. I could hardly put it down. This young man goes off in hopes to find out what a dream means and gets told that he will find a treasure near the pyramids. He meets several interesting people and goes to different lands in hopes of finding this treasure. Along the way he realizes important things about love and the world God has made. And in the end………does he get his treasure? the girl? You got to read it and find out! A worthwhile read, even if it is “just for fun”!

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It’s Official!!

My husband has just bought me the best present for my birthday! I just received 5 tickets to Florida. The kids and I are flying down to see my family for the month of July!

We can’t wait, my family can’t wait! We haven’t seen anyone, except for my mother, since we moved to NW AR a year and a half ago(it feels like forever!). We had never lived further than a 30 minute drive away until we moved here. All of us are family-sick!

We are planning on spending a lot of time at the beach, visiting our old stomping grounds(parks and springs) and visiting all of our family. Can we say “get together time”! I am hoping we will also be able to visit Sea World(can’t stop me from schoolin’).  And boy is my camera gonna be FULL!

Besides this awesome news…..Zach turns 10 May 21st! I can’t believe he’s into 2 digits now! He is growing up to be such a wonderful young man. He is so helpful to me, when I’m down on my back or not feeling good, he’ll be the first to ask to help. I am sooo proud of him!

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I’m Back!!!

A couple of months ago I switched my blog to my own address. This past month I have been having a lot of trouble with it, to where eventually I lost everything. I am done grieving for the info that was lost and ready to begin again! So I’m digging in my heels and ready to run!LOL

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It’s the hard stuff that is worthwhile…..

It’s been a couple of days since I have blogged and well, I was feeling sort of down. Then as I sat here at the computer and thought about what I would write about, it came to me that I need to stop worrying about what the site looks like so much and start paying more attention to what is in the posts and content. I have been out of the habit of writing for so long that it kind of scares me a little. Not knowing what to say or how to write it.

I’m a self proclaimed perfectionist. In the past couple of years I realized how bad I was and have been steadily working on it and trying to conform to the will of God. It is very time consuming and difficult to change. Even when you know it is the right thing to do and that everyone around you will benefit. I started this venture knowing it would be more of my time and felt that it should not stop me. I feel that I need to do this, whether for myself, my family, or others out there like me.

This past year has been a whirlwind of changes in our lives. Some good, some not so good. My motto is that I believe everything happens for a reason. At first I didn’t know what to do. Then I attended a conference called “Heart To Heart” at our church. There was no study on the topic, but for some reason I started thinking about homeschooling. Anybody who knows me knows how I used to feel about it. I would claim “are you kidding, my kids would drive me crazy, I don’t have the patience for that”. After thinking about it for months, I decided that God put it on my heart to do just that (the thing that I thought I couldn’t do). Isn’t it interesting how God works in your life to teach you what he wants. So this year is my first year teaching my kids. I have an 11yr old dd and 3 ds ages 9,7,& 5. So needlessly to say, I pray ALOT and need many prayers. In the end….it’s the hard things that are worthwhile!

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Concerning my quote

I believe it is this mindset that attracts parents initially, to decide to empower themselves over the learning of their children. We want to guide them spiritually and educationally in the way we know is necessary. We love our children so much that we give of ourselves first. As mothers we choose to quit our careers and give everything to our loved ones as fathers accept their responsibility to be the breadwinner and help support the nurturing of their family. Family is a blessing that many people take for granted. God wants us to bring them up in His word, as it says in the bible. But whether you are homeschooling for religious reasons or not, it will be the most satisfying achievements you will ever have. To know that you were responsible for a great addition(s) to the world. Thanks in advance for reading my blog, I hope you will come back soon.
Many Blessings, Vicki

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