Sunday, October 30, 2011

What's in store?


Noah * Babel * Abraham * Lot

We started out last week reading form The Children's Illustrated Old Testament, but I decided that I didn't particularly like it, so we have switched over to my original plan of reading from Hurlbut's Story of the Bible.  I love that this classic is both teaching us about God and teaching us how beautiful language can sound!  Charlotte Mason knew what she was talking about!


The Princess will continue her Delightful Reading lessons, practice reading to me and read quietly to herself.  She will also work with the stories "Dick Whittington and His Cat" and "Jordan & Maria", learning the letters C and D in the process.  She will learn some cute C and D rhymes and practice writing capital and lower case Cs and Ds.  She has also requested to bring back the Mosaic Letters I had her doing last year, so she will do Mosaics of C and D.

The Hippie will continue reading daily from classic literature.  She read Mr. Popper's Penguins again last week as well as The Littles.  She is now reading Stuart Little and The Secret Garden. She will also work with the Old Testament story of Noah's Ark this week, doing one day of copywork about God's Promise to us, painting a picture of Noah's Ark, the animals, the rainbow and the dove and possibly playing Noah's Ark with our wooden animals.  She will learn to write capital and lower case Bs in cursive this week and review capital and lower case cursive As.   She will also write a letter to someone, address and mail it.

As a family, we will continue to read aloud The Wizard of Oz..


The Hippie went through the first ten chapters (by choice) of Life of Fred Apples this past week.  She will continue that this week, but I am going to slow her down to 1 or 2 chapters a day (so that she doesn't have to do TEN practice pages in one sitting).  I have been on a mad hunt for what to do from here for math and I believe I have finally found the answer.  I am wanting to go with Math U See and start her at Alpha so that she can get a very strong foundation.  Of course, my only problem right now is MONEY.  I don't have the money to buy it.  I am trying desperately to sell a few other homeschool items, but having no luck.  I will try to get my hands on the Math U See as soon as I can, but in the mean time, we'll just continue to try to practice things hands on around here.

This week I will be telling the Four Processes Story (we didn't get to that last week) as well as the story of the Symbols.  I'll have both girls draw pictures of the Four Gnomes in their Main Lesson Books and we will practice adding and subtracting with our jewels.  I will also get the Hippie to do some written problems that I make up.  We also do our best to incorporate math into every day life anyway.  


In science, we are learning about the moon ~ its phases, its gravity and how its gravity affects the tides.  We will go out to the beach at high tide and low tide on the same day, marking each and noticing how far apart they are.  The Hippie will be making an entry into her Science Lesson Book this week that includes a drawing and small writing about what she's learned.

We are also taking a nature walk at the beach and collecting various types of shells.  We will examine the shells, sort the shells and draw pictures of them in our Science Lesson books.  I am going to see if I can find a book of shells so that we can determine what kinds of animals once lived in the shells we collect.  If not, we will try to find the answer on the Internet.  Either way, we will do our best to label the drawings with the information we find out.

In addition to our hands on activities, we will read aloud "Falling Leaves" and "The Mighty Oak".

Social Studies

We are focusing on the Old Testament right now (combining Language and Social Studies).  The Hippie will also continue copying the Hebrew Alphabet into her lesson book.


As with every week, much art is incorporated into all lessons via the drawing into the main lesson books.  This week, we will also paint ~ The Hippie will paint Noah's Ark (as mentioned above) and the Princess will be painting the brick oven and D and d for the door for her "D" story.


We are baking pumpkin cookies on Monday.  The girls have a performance for their Homeschool Theater Troupe on Saturday at the Vegetarian Festival.  They will be putting on two skits and also doing a Flash Mob.  The girls have their Waldorf Handwork Group on Wednesday (includes Fall Circle Time and handwork ~ The Hippie is working on knitting and purling while the Princess is working on weaving with a wooden loom).  We will go trick-or-treating on Monday and leave most of the sugary treats out for the Sugar Plum Fairy to take away.  We will also bake Soul Cakes on Wednesday in honor of All Soul's Day.


I think that about covers it.  What are you up to in your homeschool this week?

Monday, October 24, 2011

What's in store?

This time last year ... my how they change!

Creation * Eden * Forbidden Fruit * Cain & Abel


The Princess will continue her Delightful Reading lessons, practice reading to me and read quietly to herself.  She will also work with the fairy tales "The Magic Spindle" and "The Bear's Child", learning the letters A and B in the process.  She will learn some cute A and B rhymes and practice writing capital and lower case As and Bs.

The Hippie will continue reading daily from classic literature (she is currently reading Mr. Popper's Penguins again and Little House in the Big Woods again).  She will also work with the Old Testament story of Creation this week, making entries into her Language Lesson Book (drawing pictures and writing single sentences about what was created each day).  She will begin her work with cursive, practicing capital and lower case As this week. 

As a family, we will continue to read aloud The Wizard of Oz..


In 3rd grade, we are learning about the earth's revolution around the sun and how that makes the four seasons.  We are learning that it takes 24 hours (one day) for the earth to rotate (making day and night) and that it takes 365 days (one year) for the earth to go around the sun (making four seasons). The Hippie will be making an entry into her Science Lesson Book this week that includes a drawing and small writing about what she's learned.

We are also taking a nature walk, focusing on the seasons and collecting plants and flowers for pressing and for printing.  We'll also be collecting items for our Fall Nature Corner.  The Princess will draw a picture of the four seasons in her Nature Lesson Book.  We will set up our Nature Corner and do our Flower/Leaf Pressing and Printing.

Social Studies

We are focusing on the Old Testament right now (combining Language and Social Studies).  We will make a small Sukkah from our building logs and decorate it as the Hebrews would have done.  The Hippie will also begin copying the Hebrew Alphabet into her lesson book.


As with every week, much art is incorporated into all lessons via the drawing into the main lesson books.  This week, we will also paint Creation.


We are baking fresh baguettes together today.  The girls have their Homeschool Theater Troupe tomorrow.  The girls have their Waldorf Handwork Group on Wednesday (includes Fall Circle Time and handwork ~ The Hippie is working on knitting and purling while the Princess is working on weaving with a wooden loom).  We have our All Hallow's Eve party this week as well, where we will make decoupage jar pumpkin lanterns, glitter pumpkins and twig coasters.  We'll enjoy mulled cider, yam cookies and caramel apples with friends, all in our costumes (which we must make this week, too).


You'll notice I didn't mention math. I am awaiting the arrival of Life of Fred Apples.  I figure we can get going into a groove and then add that next week. We do our best to incorporate math into every day life anyway.  

I will also introduce the Four Processes Story to the Princess this week and allow her to draw the four gnomes in her lesson book. 

I think that about covers it.  What are you up to in your homeschool this week?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

On life and loss


It can be so fleeting.

Here today.

Gone in an instant.

Such a fragile thing, really.

Some people are lucky enough not to realize this.  They go through their own lives, never giving death a second thought.

That was me.


Ten and a half years ago.

Not a care in the world.

Until, on that fateful morning God took my sweet little brother to be with Him.

When my husband arrived at my work to tell me, in that instant, everything changed for me.

Life became as fragile as it really is.

Then, I knew the truth.

The truth that none of us are promised tomorrow with the ones we love.

We just aren't.

Anything can happen.

It is beyond scary.  It can cripple you if you let it.  I did that once.  When I was pregnant with my first child (a year after my little brother's untimely passing), I cried every single time my husband left the house for work.  I was sure that I was watching him drive away for the very last time.  It broke me into a million little pieces.  That anxiety.  I was scared to death of losing him and raising my baby alone, not being able to share her with him, her not knowing what an amazing man her Daddy was.

Fortunately, I finally got that anxiety under control.

Then, I became a mother.

Thankfully, that changed things for me.  I became too busy to allow fear to creep into my life anymore.  I was busy nursing and changing diapers and cuddling and loving and feeding and playing with my adorable baby girl (who was named after my little brother, by the way).

Then, my world was shaken once again.

Two and a half years after losing my only sibling, I also lost my Daddy.

Eight years later, I'm still not sure I've ever dealt with that loss.  I was "too busy" to grieve "properly" at the time.  A 9 month old daughter kept me distracted.

Then, a new pregnancy.

Pregnancies, babies, pets, a loving husband, a wonderful mother, good friends.

Life kept me distracted from the reality that my family had been cut in HALF in a matter of two and a half years.

I think I eventually became somewhat numb to death (as long as it kept its distance, not taking those closest to me).

I've lost count of the losses I've endured over the past several years.

My great-grandmother died a few months after my brother.

One of my very best friends got in a car accident with his brand new wife while I was pregnant the first time and both died instantly.

Another friend of ours fell off of a balcony a year or so later and died.

Most of my Dad's family has died in the past few years ~ his mother, his sister, both his father and his step-father, aunts, etc.

My best friend lost his mother to a car accident almost two years ago.  I loved her and love her family dearly.

My mom's cousin died recently.

That same cousin's Dad's wife died recently, leaving my great-Uncle to lose both a daughter and a wife in a short time.

All of my animals have died ~ one dog died about four years ago and then I lost both cats and my other dog this year.

I could go on.  My mind has turned to mush.  I'm sure I'm forgetting something major.  I can barely keep track anymore.

I just found out yesterday that someone else I know (who has two children) was hit by a car and killed on Friday.  Her best friend (whom I also know) had to identify her body.

Then, some sweet kids (like teenager kids) I met at a concert a while back have been posting on Facebook since Friday about their best friend being missing.

His body was found this morning.

19 years old


Takes my breath away.  At this point in my life, I am closer in age to that child's mother than to that child.  So, I immediately think of my babies.

Total heartache.

But, what can we do?

Do we allow that fear to take hold of us and hold us prisoner?

If I allow my thoughts to wonder to losing either of my babies or my husband or anyone else I love, my heart stops beating for just a moment.

If I allow my thoughts to wonder to my children losing me, my heart stops beating.

I just can't go there.  My heart isn't strong enough.

So, I won't.

With death seeming to surround me these days, all I can do is ...

LOVE more deeply,

SPEAK more kindly,

HOLD on tighter to those I love.

All I can do is GIVE THANKS each and every day for the blessings in my life and

PRAY to God that I get to enjoy these blessings forever.

What if you woke up today and only had what you'd thanked God for yesterday?

I've read that quote recently and it stopped my heart (once again).

Luckily I am one who DOES give thanks daily.

But, man does it make you stop and think.

Give thanks every day for those you love, for what you have.

Enjoy the little things.

Savor the moments.


It is Jewish New Year, a time to take stock of how you've been living your life, make amends and do better.  It's the perfect time to start new habits of kindness, thankfulness and love.

I know that's what I'm thinking about.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Peaceful beginnings

Maybe it was the gentle breeze blowing through the window.

Maybe it was the birds chirping outside the window.

Maybe it was the smell of scratch-made Challah bread making its way around the house.

Maybe it was my mood.

Maybe it was the girls' moods.

Whatever it was, today was a beautiful and peaceful day.

Amazing, actually.

We didn't follow our "schedule" at all, yet we got everything accomplished and even played and danced and enjoyed.

And learned.

A combination of my own plans for the day and unschooling (God's plan for the day).

The day started like any other day. 

I woke up about 6:45.
I enjoyed my tea at the computer.
It was almost quiet (other than the meowing kittens and the whining dogs and the loud fans attempting to bring the temperature below 80 degrees inside and eventually the crying children who had been frightened by their door opening and closing due to the heat expanding the wood or something like that).

They came out early today (crying and all), so I let them curl up on the couch to watch something.

But, it "counted" ... it was a 50 minute kids show on Hercules ... hey, that's Greek Mythology.

That ended about 8 or so and the girls immediately wanted to watch the youtube videos we'd watched yesterday in honor of Rosh Hashanah.  I think we have some new favorites.

We had breakfast and did some chores.  LOVING the lack of complaining about the chores.  Wonder how long that will last?

Then, it looked like it was going to rain, so the girls started their day playing outside (in case they weren't able to later).

At some point, we meandered inside to start our Challah bread.

We read about Shabbat and Challah and talked about the meaning of both.

We talked about how the Challah is usually braided for Shabbat, but for Rosh Hashanah it is shaped into either a ladder (to carry prayers up to God) or a crown (to symbolize the crown/head of the year).

Just like in everything else in life, the girls were different.
The Princess wanted to make a ladder.
The Hippie wanted to make a crown.
So, we cut our dough in half and made both (of course).

I found some Jewish music on youtube and we started our dough, while the music lifted our hearts and made our toes tap.  Everyone took turns kneading and we set it aside to rise.

Then, we curled up on the couch to read "Moses's Mistake" and talked about how we all make mistakes.  As long as we recognize them, admit them and don't make them again, it is okay.  We just have to learn from our mistakes.

Then, we all sat at the table and made scrapbook pages for some of our recent field trips.

It was SO nice.  Positive, joyful and just plain peaceful.  The breeze was blowing through the window (via the box fan on HIGH, of course, but still).  The sun was shining.  The music was cheerful.  The girls were happy.  I was happy.  Bliss.

Eventually, it started pouring down rain and the Hippie noticed that a river was flowing down our street.  They begged to stop and go out and play in it.  No thunder or lightening, so of course I obliged.

So much fun!

That's when God stepped in.

I had just checked out a book yesterday called An Earthworm's Life.
I wanted us to learn about earthworms next week.
I planned on having us set up an earthworm habitat next week.

God had other plans.

The girls found an earthworm and got SO excited.
They set up a habitat for him and watched him for a while.

Then, they came in and the dough had doubled in size, so we took turns punching it and shaped the ladder and the crown.  The bread went into the oven and the house started to smell like a home.

We had some lunch and (of course) the Princess and I did her reading lesson.
She wasn't about to let me slip up on that.
While I was still rolling dough she was already getting out the materials for the lesson.
Gotta love an eager student!

To top off a beautiful day, the Hippie read to us from A.A. Miln'es "When We Were Very Young".  She read us the poem called "Disobedience".

She also read about the artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and some from a book about young activists.

Now, she is knitting and reading Anastasia's diary and the Princess is resting.

What a peaceful day.

Now, if only someone else would come and clean up this kitchen!

So blessed to be a homeschooler!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

First OFFICIAL Day of 1st & 3rd Grade

Kids are so funny.

The Princess has been BEGGING for school for a long time now.

BEGGING for "learning to read with the letters and cutting out the words and putting them in my word book and stuff and everything".

Today was the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL.

Of course, to ME, that meant getting into a groove, setting up notebooks, All About Me pages and snack and things like that.  I had no intention of doing REAL lessons today.

The Princess came out this morning EXCITED and ready to go.

She had happy tears.

Of course ... she does that OFTEN.  She's my passionate one!

We had some breakfast, fed the animals, brushed teeth and hair and did some chores.

When it was time to start, I suddenly had the idea to make 1st and 3rd grade signs to hold up in their pictures.  This turned into an hour PLUS activity ... but, they enjoyed it.

They each made their signs and we headed outside to take our pictures.

Then, we headed in to start on our All About Me pages.

Eventually it was after 11:00 am and the Princess was TOO HUNGRY to focus any longer.

I had plans to feed them Apples and Honey in honor of Rosh Hashanah, but I really wanted to read the story of Rosh Hashanah first.

I tried ... we gathered on the couch for the story.

We read "Wake Up and Beat the Drums" from the book "Ten Holiday Jewish Children's Stories".

But, the Princess's tummy rumbled and rumbled.  Poor girl ... couldn't concentrate AT ALL.

So, I stopped and broke out the Apples and Honey and set the girls up in front of You Tube for some cool little Rosh Hashanah videos I'd found.  That was FUN!

Okay, it's 11:30 by now.  People seem worn out.  I'm thinking "Let's take a break." and I go on to say, "How about you guys go play outside until 12:00 and then we'll finish up our All About Me pages and call it a day."

The Princess started crying.

She wanted to do "the reading stuff with the letters and cutting out the words and sticking them in my word book and all of that.  I want t do ALL of that school stuff."

sniff sniff

I tried to explain how the first day of school (first week of school, really) usually is all about getting set up, getting acquainted, getting into a groove.  Kids don't usually start "lessons" right away.

Not good enough.

She wants to do the reading lessons.

Guess I must oblige.  HAHAHAHA

I guess there are worse things for a teacher than an OVER enthusiastic student, right?

Anyway, The girls played outside for a bit, blowing bubbles and building things.

They came in and we finished up their All About Me pages ... so cool to see where they'd changed and where they'd stayed exactly the same (personality wise).

They both grew about 2 inches and they both gained about 6 pounds.

We cleaned up after ourselves (I discovered that when we "do school", we are like tornadoes ... making messes and moving on to the next thing ... we'll have to work on that), made and ate lunch and that was the day.

Well, I wished it was.

I still had to do that reading lesson I'd promised.  It was a total success.  She LOVED it.  She was able to read more than what was in the lesson.  But, she still wanted to do the lesson.  Then, she pasted the words she learned into her Word Book and drew a picture of the first line of the poem "Rain" by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Then, we still had to go to the library.

Then, we still had to go to our Handwork Group.

Then, we still had to go to the store.

Then, I still had to cook dinner and clean the kitchen and read to the girls and sing to the girls and ...

Such is the life of a home-educating Momma.

Long, hard, exhausting, yes.

But, oh so rewarding!

So blessed to be a homeschooler.

p.s.  Pictures coming soon ... when I figure out how to empty my camera without the USB cord.  :) 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Thinking out loud

Let me think "out loud" here for a bit.

I need to bounce some things around and I am running out of paper and, frankly, I'm getting tired of writing.

I've been sitting here looking at the SAMPLE lessons for OM1 and OM3 and trying to figure out exactly how it might all fit into a week.

I realize that the sample is only of week 4 and each week will have different activities and different lessons.  But, I have to start somewhere.

Blending the two seems doable.

Adding in Bible and Outdoor Secrets and Delightful Reading and Queen Language Lessons and Artist/Picture Study and Composer Study and Poetry and games makes it too much.


So, if I want peace in my homeschool, something will have to GIVE.

What is it that makes me think I want to hang onto these other things so much?
Can we get "those things" (whatever they are) from OM alone?
Or do I just not want to give up a good thing?

Let me go through them, one by one.


Well, I feel like I need to add Bible (or whatever study of God) because, well, aren't we supposed to do that?  Aren't WE the ones responsible for teaching them about God?

BUT ... does it HAVE to be a "school subject"?  I mean, we talk about God often.  We give thanks daily.  DO we need to read to learn about God?  Maybe I could switch out the OM Language Arts lessons and do them off of Bible stories INSTEAD of the fables?  Hmmm.  Still thinking on this one.


I don't NEED it.  The science and nature activities in Oak Meadow are lovely.
But, I WANT it.  The science and nature activities in Outdoor Secrets are equally lovely.

But, I can't fit it ALL in.
Peace ... not perfection.

Maybe I can hang onto the Outdoor Secrets and just use it during weeks where OM's science is either uninteresting (not likely) or not as time consuming or non-existent.  Or, maybe we can do the Outdoor Secrets activities in the summer or over breaks.



The Princess has REQUESTED this, so I must oblige.

It's only 15 minutes a day.  I should be able to squeeze that in.  Plus, it's the perfect time to ensure that the Hippie is reading silently (in case we get busy and she doesn't do it later in the day).

So, I'll keep this.  I'll find a way to add it to the OM.

Thanks for listening.  Thanks for your help.  :)


Okay.  I wanted these because I love them.

I love that they are gentle.
I love that they include copywork and picture study and narration and simple grammar.
I love that they make ME feel good ... like "as long as they do QLL, then language arts is covered and covered in a Charlotte Mason way".

But, making ME feel good is not my priority.

Language Arts WILL get covered ... via Oak Meadow.
Copywork can happen with Oak Meadow ... just have them copy stuff from their OM stories.
Narration happens with Oak Meadow.
Charlotte Mason herself did not advocate introducing grammar until after age 10 anyway.
Picture Study can come elsewhere.

So, according to what I'm listing out here, I guess I need to let go of QLL.  



Okay.  Really.  This whole subject only takes a few minutes.  I'm making it harder than it needs to be.

Just pick an artist.
Keep their art available, visible, one print per week or two.
Get some books at the library about the artist.  I don't actually have to SCHEDULE the reading ... just as desired ... breakfast, lunch, whenever.

So, don't let it go.
But, don't be so freakish about "scheduling it" just perfectly.


Same exact thing is true here.

Pick a composer.
Listen to him whenever ... at lunch, during art, while we're cleaning, whenever.
Get some books at the library about the composer.  I don't have to actually SCHEDULE the reading ... just read them as wanted.

So, again, don't let it go.
But, don't be so freakish about "scheduling" it just perfectly.


Again ... chill out, Momma.

Read some poems.
Play some games.


Don't have to SCHEDULE every little thing.



I may be making some progress.


Do what we can.

Don't worry about a perfectly scheduled spreadsheet of a day.

Natural rhythms ... do some school, go outside, have some fun, read some stuff, bake something, ENJOY.

Do it as we can.


Thanks so much for letting me get all of this off my chest.

Thanks for allowing me to brainstorm.
If you actually read all this (my random, brainstorming, thinking out loud), I'm sorry to have bored you.

Can't wait to get my hands on the guides and get going.

But, first ... this week we are back to school ... Rosh Hashanah, Scrapbooking, and those reading lessons the Princess has been BEGGING for.

So blessed to be a home-educator.

God ALWAYS Provides

Let me just tell you up front.

If you get tired of hearing me talk about how God Always Provides, then you may want to follow another blog.

He just DOES.  What can I say?

I firmly believe it and God continues to "prove me right".

If you have been following any of my recent posts, I've been talking about getting my big girl panties on and dealing with life.

Schooling away my troubles.

I've had great intentions.
Plans to 'make do' with the materials I have, while at the same time looking ahead.

I'm learning (after two years of homeschooling) that I need some structure.

I've never wanted to buy an all-in-one curriculum that told me what to do because I've always believed that I could do it better.

I am drawn to more than one educational philosophy.
My children are different.  I need to tailor everything to THEM.
I want the living books and the artist study and the composer study, but not the religious doctrine.
I want the beauty and peace, but not the dogma.
I want to teach them about God MY way.
I want to play games.
I want to have time to bake.
I want to read what WE want to read.

And so on.

I want to write my own curriculum.  I can do it better.

But, my track record so far says otherwise.
I want to do it myself, but I end up failing.

I've come to the realization that I need the all-in-one with the guide.
I don't have to follow it to the letter.
But, it can just BE HERE for when I DO need it.
I can add to it.
I can subtract from it.
We can still talk about our religious beliefs.
I can still tailor the lessons to MY children.
If I want to play games, then we play games.
If I want to bake, then we bake.
We can read different read alouds.

But, when I'm not in the mood to plan and I need ideas, they will be here for the taking.

So, those were my thoughts.
Those were the thoughts that started me on my curriculum search journey.
My plan was to finish out THIS year (1st and 3rd grades) just 'winging it', then buy 2nd and 4th grade materials with my tax return in February and BE READY (for a change) to start in the fall.

I have a Sonlight catalog here.  It got me very excited and intrigued.

But there aren't hands on activities or art or crafts and it is overwhelming to a lot of folks.
Plus, there is that nagging religious overtone that I don't want.

Then, I got to thinking about My Father's World (MFW).  It got me very excited and intrigued.

Charlotte Mason philosophies (yippee), living books (double yippee) and this one DOES have hands on activities and crafts and cooking related to the material you are studying (huge YIPPEE).

But even more religious overtone.  I could substitute my own "God teaching" somewhat, but the entire course is centered around the Bible and Christian beliefs.

****  Disclaimer ~ Please, please, please do not be offended.  I am a God-loving woman who runs a God-loving family.  I simply want to teach my children about God the way that I want to and much of the doctrine does not fit with our beliefs.  If my discussion here ignites something in you that makes you want to leave a nasty comment or start a religious debate, please stop reading and take your anger elsewhere.  I am only speaking of what is best for MY FAMILY, not yours.  MFW is a beautiful curriculum and I applaud any family who instills their own religious beliefs in their children.  It's just not exactly the way that WE want to go about it.  ****

Disclaimer over.

Then, I got to thinking about Oak Meadow again.

It appears to be a perfect mix of Charlotte Mason and Waldorf philosophies (my two favorites).
It also appears to be natural enough to appease my Unschool-wishing daughter.
It appears to be peaceful and beautiful.
There is no religious doctrine at all ... we would add our own study of God.
There is art and craft and hands-on and cooking.
There is enough structure, but enough flexibility.
I could subtract what I don't really care about and still add what I feel is missing.

THEN ... I got down on myself.

When I look at the samples online, I am super stoked about the 3rd grade curriculum.
But, I can't afford to buy anything right now.
Remember, my plan was to 'make do' for 1st and 3rd grade.
I wouldn't be able to buy anything until February.
I didn't want to skip the 3rd grade stuff.
But, I didn't want to start it in FEBRUARY, either.


Woe is me.

Wondering when this post was going to come back around to its title, were you?

Well, another home-educating Momma (whom I have never met in real life) has come to my rescue.  God is working through her.

She has a blog.

She has two little girls ... each one year younger than mine (she is currently doing Kindergarten and 2nd grade).

She, too loves Charlotte Mason and Waldorf.

We've become friends over the internet, reading each other's blogs, having "faculty meetings" via email.

She's been on a very similar journey.

She, too has been a curriculum junkie, bouncing around, having trouble deciding.

She finally settled on Oak Meadow and is at peace.

She is the one who convinced me that Oak Meadow is a nice blend of the two philosophies.

We've been talking back and forth a lot this week ... about Sonlight and MFW and Oak Meadow (she's tried them all).

Long story short (or has this been a short story long?  oops ... sorry ... I tend to be long-winded ... ask my husband)

She HAS Oak Meadow 1 and Oak Meadow 3, complete and current editions.

She is going to let me use them for the year (she's currently doing OM K and OM 2, so she doesn't need them).

Talk about kindness and a giving spirit.

I really know how to find the most amazing people.

Generous, loving, kind, giving with a loving heart, LIVING the word of God.


So, as I said at the beginning, GOD ALWAYS PROVIDES.

Sometimes it is through the $20 bill you find in your old jeans just when you need gas in your tank and have no money.

Sometimes it is through the random insurance rebate check that comes in the mail just when you need groceries and have no money.

Sometimes it is through the stranger who sends you a blender when you want to get a little healthier.

And, sometimes it is through the sweet soul across the country who is willing to send you COMPLETE curriculum sets to borrow for the year, asking nothing in return.

How has God provided for YOU lately?  Were your eyes open enough to see it when it happened?

Keep your head up ... God's got your back! 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

What's in store?

It is Sunday evening.

Time to start thinking about the week ahead.

I've successfully planned our first two weeks of 'school' and I thought I'd share them here.

I use the term 'school' loosely.

As far as the Hippie is concerned, we've been 'doing school' for the past two months (and I have to agree with her).

She WANTS to Unschool.  She truly thrives that way.

She writes stories. 
She writes in her journal.
She writes poems (she's started a love song for Daddy & Me).
She draws.
She creates.
She reads (currently Anastasia's Diary and Island of the Blue Dolphins).
She knits.
She studies and learns about all things educational.
She asks questions and has intelligent discussions.
She does calculations while cooking and baking.
She watches the squirrels (and even made an entry in her Nature Notebook about them).

You get the idea.

The girl learns a lot on her own.  I in no way intend to squash that.

But, the Princess has been BEGGING for school for a while now.

She WANTS to school.

One wants to school.
The other wants to Unschool.
Mommy needs structure.

So, we will compromise.

I will structure enough to make me feel good and to satisfy the Princess, but leave enough time for the Hippie to get what she needs.  A healthy rhythm of morning 'school' and afternoon 'masterly inactivity'.

Thankfully, the Hippie LOVES books, so even though I will be instituting some structure, since most of it will be coming from real, living books and hands-on activities, she should love it all.

And, she'll have plenty of time to peruse her other interests.

So, anyway, what do we have planned for the coming week?

The focus of the week will be two-fold ~ Getting settled into a groove and Rosh Hashanah.  We will not start our Artist Study, Composer Study, Nature Studies or Math this week.  We will focus on the holiday and easing in.  Our "Bible" slot will consist of tales related to Rosh Hashanah.  Our ART this week will consist of our scrapbooking and making Rosh Hashanah cards and our baking this week will be baking Challah Bread, traditional Jewish Shabbat and Holiday bread.

We have a field trip on Monday.

"First Day of School" 
All About Me
Tour of schedules and supplies
Read about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
Enjoy Apples & Honey (as the children in our Rosh Hashanah story do)
Make our new 2011/2012 Notebooks
Read Aloud Wizard of Oz

Read "Moses's Mistake" (Jewish tale about admitting mistakes)
Read about Challah Bread
Bake Challah Bread
HAP Scrapbook
Read Aloud Wizard of Oz

Homeschool Adventures Playgroup 

Read "Maybe Even Higher" (Jewish tale about the importance of DEED)
Reading Lesson with the Princess (Hippie reads)
Begin Queen Language Lessons
Read about the Shofar
Blow horns like the Shofar
Make Rosh Hashanah Cards
Begin "Our Jewish Year" Books
Read Aloud Wizard of Oz

What are YOUR plans this week?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Seriously, shouldn't you just get a job?


What a way to wake up on a Saturday morning.

Well, actually, I was up before 7:00 this morning.  
I helped get my husband out the door, making his lunch and such.
I got my girls situated for a Saturday morning movie.
I fed the zoo.
I started getting some grocery lists together.
I checked some emails.
You get the idea.

Then, I came to my blog.  
I checked my comments and the first thing I see is this:

"Seriously.  Shouldn't you just get a job?"

From ANONYMOUS, of course (confrontational people like to hide, don't they?)

Unfortunately, my  knee-jerk reaction was to delete it.  So, it's already been deleted.

Then, I thought about it for a minute and wished I hadn't.
I should have politely responded.

Why do I allow things like that to get my heart rate up?

I shouldn't.

I am confident and passionate about the decisions we've made in our family.  Defending them should not get me so worked up.
It is something I need to work on.

Well, ANONYMOUS, if you are reading this post, let me direct you to where I have already answered your question.  Please take a look at this post or look up to the top at the page entitled Why We Homeschool.

For one thing, I do have a job.  Being paid in cash does not determine your worth.  It does not determine whether or not you have a job.

If you look up the word "job" in the dictionary, you will find multiple definitions.  While I do not argue that one of those definitions mentions being paid, I would like to point out that another of those definitions clearly states that a job is "a responsibility or duty".

It is my responsibility and my duty to raise and educate my children, to maintain my home, to provide for my husband and family.

My husband provides for me and my family by working hard outside the home.

He brings home the proverbial bacon (we are vegetarian, so I guess you could say that he brings home the beans).

I provide for my husband and my family by working equally hard inside the home (and all over town, for that matter).

Everything we both do is for the betterment of our family.  
We are a team.
We have chosen these roles, together as a family.
This is what is most important to us ... FAMILY.

When you coordinate your life and priorities with what you actually value most, your life looks a little different.

What do we value most?  
   God comes first in all things.
   Family comes immediately after God.
   A whole list of other things in life come next.
   Money, power, status, material wealth and possessions don't even make the list.
   Money is only important for the needs it provides.

If one values God and Family above all things, one designs a life that supports that.  In our family, that means having one parent at home with our children to ensure that they, too, value God and Family above all else.

So, what exactly do I do for my job?

I educate our children.
I manage our household.
I shop for our food.
I prepare home-made meals from real, whole foods each day.
I pay our bills.
I manage our life.
I clean our home.
I love and guide our children.
I provide experiences for our children.
I make sure our children are stewards for the earth and for God.

I could go on and on.  In a nutshell, I make sure that everything in our life is taken care of so that my husband can completely focus on his work.

I am a nurse.
I am a chef.
I am a chauffeur.
I am a teacher.
I am a friend.
I am a housekeeper.
I am a personal shopper.
I am a personal attendant.
I am an accountant.
I am a babysitter or nanny.

I do not receive a paycheck.
I do not work 40 hours a week ~ I work 168 hours a week (that is 24/7 in case you didn't know).
I don't get sick days.
I don't get paid time off.
I don't get time off, period.
I don't get an annual raise.
I don't get health insurance.
I don't get retirement.
I don't get dental or vision.

According to a 2010 report from, a stay at home mom would receive $117,856 a year if she were paid for all of the jobs that she does.  Now, since I am also a home-educating mom, I guess we should add the salary for a teacher to that ($48,826 in my area), bringing that figure up to at least $166,682 (keep in mind that those figures are from 2010).

While I do not make a six figure income (or any income, for that matter) and I don't get the typical "benefits", I get benefits that are beyond measure.

I get bonding with my children.
I get to tailor their education to meet their needs.
I get to ensure that my family eats real, whole, nutritious food each day.
I get to raise my own children, ensuring that they see our family's values first hand, each day.
I get to intervene when there is an issue in my children's lives, right then and there.
I get to share experiences with my children, both fun and emotional.
I get to watch my children become the people God has designed them to be.
I get to allow them the freedom and time to become those people.

We get more time for character-building.  Character is important and it takes time.  Staying home with my children allows us that time.

My children get to sleep later, ensuring their good health.
My children get to spend time together, ensuring their strong bond.
My children get to spend time with their animals, totally therapeutic for them.
My children get to read as much as they want.
My children get to draw as much as they want.
My children get to play games.
My children don't have homework.
My children get a customized education.
My children get one-on-one tutoring, every day.
My children don't get bullied.
My children deal with much less peer-pressure.
My children get to do theater and art and field trips and clubs ... and it doesn't add to an already over-stuffed day ... it is the day.

In the words of my daughter, "I get to hang out with my Mommy all day.  I get to play games and stay at home instead of go to school.  I get to play.  If my Mommy didn't stay at home, I'd have to go to school and I wouldn't be able to play.  I don't have any homework."

We get the benefit of spontaneity and flexibility.

I guess I could just "get a job".

But, I believe with every fiber of my being that I am already doing the most important job in the world.  I am doing exactly what God put me on this Earth to do ~ raising a beautiful family and teaching my children to LOVE, respect and care for their fellow brothers and sisters in all that they do.

Thanks for the suggestion, Anonymous.  But, I think I'll pass.

Wouldn't it be beautiful if we could all just live together in Unity?
Wouldn't it be amazing if we could live and let live, without passing judgement on others?

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all understand that we all live the lives that are best for our families?  What we choose to do in our home is what we believe is best for the people in it.  We do not ask anyone else to live the way that we do.  It would be so nice if others could just give us the same courtesy.

We quite enjoy our travels on the Narrow Path.

If the Narrow Path is not right for you, don't travel down it.  I certainly won't judge you for that.

But, please, if this isn't the path you choose to follow, stay out of my way.  Let me travel the path I choose.  This path leads to LIFE for me and I am glad I've found it!

"Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."  ~ Matthew 7:13-14

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