Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jungle gym or drying rack?

How about both a jungle gym AND a drying rack!  Well, just not at the same time.
I love taking advantage of this crazy heat!  Calvin's diapers dry in no time flat out in this West Texas sun.

And don't think God doesn't have a sense of humor.  It's no coincidence that the week I announce my intentions to "go green" my dishwasher breaks.  And no, I'm not ready to give up the dishwasher, though I do have friends who have done that.  Anyone have any "green" dishwasher recommendations?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What happened to teamwork?

This is a 600 piece puzzle I ordered so the kids and I could have some educational fun this summer.  When I came home the other day Twinkle Toes had gotten it out and started on the edge pieces.  She soon lost interest.  It sat out for about a week, untouched.  Then Mom got to work on it and obsessed until it was finished Saturday.  The good news is it's finished.  The bad news is I'm pretty sure the kids didn't learn any geography : ).  Oh well, one of the perks to homeschooling my kids is I'm always learning something!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Somebody should get this girl a violin!

Lately everything has become a "biolin" to Queen.  It must be torture to have a big sister with a real live violin, but not have one of your own.  Yesterday Queen was improvising with a fork as her bow and stabbed herself several times before giving it up.  Now that's dedication!

Who can say no to that face?  And notice the bare feet and big sister's fancy dress on backwards.  This girl has always made us laugh.  What a blessing she is to us all!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Going Green!!

I may be a little late to this party, but better late than never!  I'm so excited about the changes we're making that I just had to share.  Many of you have already done all these things.  In fact, you've been my inspiration.  Here's what I've started with on my journey to green.  (I'm still on this journey, by the way.  I have so much to learn!)

Cloth diapers-  This probably marks the beginning of my journey.  I chose to cloth diaper, not for the sake of the environment (this is an added benefit), but for the sake of my baby.  Disposable diapers have become more and more effective because of the combination of chemicals and synthetic materials used.  Some of these may not be good for Baby's skin.  Once I got on this bandwagon, one thing led to another.

Recycled cloth baby wipes and wipes solution-  I loved that cloth diapering meant I didn't fill so many of those plastic sacks from the grocery store.  Unfortantely, I still needed a quick way to ditch dirty wipes, so the plastic sacks continued to be necessary.  I cut up an old dinosaur blanket and am using these for Calvin's wipes now.  I've seen many baby wipes solution recipes out there, but have settled on this one for now.

Castile Solution
1 T oil (I'm using grapeseed oil, good for sensitive skin.)
1 T Castile Soap (made by Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps)
2 drops tea tree oil (Tee tree oil has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.)
1 drop lavender essential oil
1 c water

Now the wipes go in their own wet bag and get washed with towels.

Speaking of the wash, I've started using Planet hypo-allergenic ultra liquid.  Yes, it's expensive, but I have a front-load HE washing machine and subsequently don't need much detergent for each load. 

One of the problems with cloth diapering and living in a place with hard water is not being able to use fabric softener.  I never knew fabric softener was bad for us.  Go figure.  My kids have eczema and other skin problems so I should have ditched the fabric softener years ago.  Live and learn.

Homemade fabric softener (Ok to use with cloth diapers as far as I know)
For 1 gallon (I only make 1/4  of this at a time.)
1 c baking soda
6 c distilled white vinegar
8 c water
10-15 drops essential oils if desired (probably should leave this out if using on cloth diapers)
Add baking soda to bottom of container, then 1 c water, stir, add vinegar, rest of water, essential oils.  I have mine in a pitcher so it can "breathe". 

Another guilt trip I've been on for awhile has to do with the amount of paper towels we go through in a given week.  LOTS.  I can't stand the thought of germs hanging around in sponges or rags so I've always used paper towels for everything.  I'll probably still buy paper towels to have on hand "just in case", but I'm trying to use rags most of the time.  Yes, this means more wash, but I'd rather recycle old t-shirts and towels as rags than keep buying paper towels.  I'm hoping we can really reduce our waste this way.  And in case you're wondering, like my husband was, we're still going to use store-bought toilet paper : ).  Until I read about a great alternative, anyway :).

Finally, I've always been bothered by the aluminum content in deodorant.  Tsh Oxenreider gives homemade recipes for all kinds of toiletries including deodorant in her book Organized Simplicity.  Here's her deodorant recipe.

Homemade Deodorant by Tsh Oxenreider
1/4 c baking soda (to neutralize smells)
1/4 c cornstarch (for drying power)
4-6 T coconut oil
Essential oils optional

I mixed the dry ingredients then nuked them to facilitate mixing.  (Coconut oil is solid below 76 F which made it hard to mix otherwise.  Then I set in fridge to solidify before packing into an empty deodorant container with a spoon.)  Depending on how warm your bathroom gets, you may want to store your deodorant in the fridge.  At least make sure it stays cooler than 76 degrees F, or you could end up with a melted mess.

Queen and I even took our own bags with us to the store this morning.

What are you doing to go green?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Snapshots

Calvin's hangout spot while Mom's in the kitchen. 
Daddy has this thing majorly rigged so that it will support Calvin's weight.

I didn't know Jumpstart Learning 1st Grade was so interesting! 
Prince said he just needs one more piece of knowledge. 
If life were only that simple.

Maybe I should rename Monk Spiderman.  We have 10 ft ceilings.

I came home the other day and Twinkle Toes had gotten out this 600 piece puzzle of the world. 
It's definitely a multi-day project.

It's a race to the finish.  Nice save back there.

Believe it or not, this is the face of victory.

And this of defeat?  Let's not tell her.

Silly sisters!

Girls slumber party.  Prince is sleeping in Monk's room. 
I guess that means we have 4 empty bedrooms tonight!

Calvin (9 months) just moved into his crib.  It's in our room : ). 

Hey, wait a minute.  That's my side!  See why I call her Queen?!

Much better.
We're loving the easy days of summer!  Now excuse me while I go to bed so I can be up by 6! How are you filling your summer days?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Substance is of Christ

Click picture above to go to A Holy Experience memorize Colossians in a year page.

Everything in the Old Testament of the Bible points to and is fulfilled in Christ.  The more I read the Bible, the more I see this. 

Holidays (feasts instituted by God) were important to Israel.  They were a time of worship and remembrance.

In the New Testament church there was evidently some debate over whether they should continue to observe the ceremonial law.  Paul encourages believers to give one another grace and reminds them that whether they keep the feasts or not (and whether they continue abiding by the dietary laws or not), the point is to recognize that they have all been fulfilled in Christ.  What the Jewish and Gentile believers had in common was salvation by grace in Christ.  And if they were going to continue in the ceremonial law, it should not be observed in a legalistic way in order to make other believers feel less devout, but celebrated as a memorial to Christ's completion or fulfillment of it.

So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.  Colossians 2:16-17

I love thinking about this.

Christ became our Passover lamb when Israel "selected Him" at His triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday was the 10th of Abib, same day each family in Israel was to select their unblemished lamb.)  Four days later, 14th Abib at twilight, Israel was to kill their passover lambs.  It was no accident this is the day Christ went to the cross.

Christ became our Firstfruits when He rose from the dead, three days after His sacrificial death.  The Feast of Firstfruits was when Israel was to bring an offering of the first of their crops and the priest would wave these sheaves above him so that Israel would be accepted by God (Leviticus 23:9-14).  Guess when Firstfruits was celebrated-  three days after Passover, 17th Abib (Nisan).  So we are accepted by God because Christ offered Himself up for us (He is our priest and our offering)! 

The Feast of Weeks, also called Pentecost, was celebrated 50 days after Firstfruits.  The law was given to Moses 50 days after Israel's crossing of the Red Sea and the Holy Spirit was given 50 days after Christ's resurrection.  The two loaves of bread that were waved in the Feast of Pentecost present a picture of the church with Jews and Gentiles united together.  When we accept Christ as our Savior, we're united in His body, the church, and are given His Spirit.

The Spring holidays outlined above were all fulfilled in Christ's first coming.  The Fall holidays (Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles) are prophetic of His second coming.

The holidays given to Israel were like a roadmap that led to Christ.  It's the gospel, in the Old Testament.  Why I grew up in the church and never learned any of this, I don't know!  Some great resources that I've found helpful are A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays With Activities for All Ages by Robin Sampson and Linda Pierce and Jesus, Awesome Power, Awesome Love by Kay Arthur, especially chapter 3.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Music in the Park

Measle and her Nana played the joy, joy, joy, joy song together this evening.

 Notice the intense look on Measle's face.  Pure concentration.

Smiling relief at Nana because she knows they played well.

Relaxed and enjoying the rest of the show between her Nana and Grandfather. 

Measle spent last week in Dallas with her Nana at the DFW WOW Suzuki Institute.  She's been taking violin for a couple of years, but it's obvious she's now turned a corner in her playing.  This girl is a serious violinist!  And she enjoys it, too!  Thank you Mom and Dad for enriching Measle's life with the violin!  What a blessing for all of us!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

We all have dirty clothes!

I just read Prince our new copy of The Priest with Dirty Clothes by RC Sproul.  What a delightful story.  In it, RC successfully explains the doctrine of imputation to children.  It's a captivating story, as well, not dry and boring like Daddy's sermons or Mommy's speeches : ).  Prince followed the story line closely and when I asked him who had arrived at the apex of excitement he yelled, "The Prince, the Prince!!"  When I asked him what was in the package under the Prince's arm he yelled, "His clothes, His clothes!!"  He was so excited that he actually clapped twice on the last page. 

The doctrine of imputation is central to the gospel and the gospel cannot be understood without first understanding imputation.  To realize that we all have dirty clothes (or as RC explains in the book, dirty hearts) and that there is nothing we nor anyone else can do to clean them puts us in the humble, repentant position to accept by faith Christ's "robe of" righteousness so that we can stand before God.  Our acceptance by God is not based on any work or goodness of our own, but only made possible by Christ's righteousness that covers our sins.  There is another side to this coin, as well.  Christ bore our sins on the cross.  This means that even though He never sinned, He "put on" our sins when He suffered the punishment we deserved.

My husband recently received a note in the mail from a woman in her seventies.  He had preached two Sundays in a row (while going through Mathew) and then on a Sunday evening about imputation.  The note said that the third time she got it.  She really got it.  For the first time in her life she understood imputation.  Gone was her guilt.  And oh the bliss of understanding what a glorious salvation we have in Christ.

You might be thinking it's strange that it took this woman three times to get it.  Unfortunately, many never understand imputation and this lack of understanding causes big problems in our faith.  For instance, if you are actually made righteous when you believe, or infused with the righteousness of Christ, then how can you continue to sin?  You can't.  It changes your view of man, sin, sanctification, and even justification.  This is at the root of why so many who have placed their faith in Christ worry that they have lost their salvation because of some recent sin.  In other words, there is no confidence in a secure salvation when that security rests on our own righteousness.  We must utterly rely upon God graciously crediting Christ's righteousness to us in order to stand securely before God today and on Judgment Day. 

The Priest with Dirty Clothes does a fabulous job of illustrating how Christ took our sins on Himself and in exchange let us wear His righteousness so we can stand in the presence of His Father.  I know this will be a classic in our family, enjoyed over and over again for years to come. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Our Course of Study for 2011-2012

Calvin's not the only one who's been jumping for joy around here.

I am so excited to announce that Monk (12), Twinkle Toes (10), and I will be studying Sonlight Core F Eastern Hemisphere this year!  The Lord has been preparing our hearts for this course since we began praying through Operation World back in January.  We've become so much more sensitive to the church around the world as we've begun praying for believers in every nation.  We're on schedule to finish Operation World in May (taking 17 months instead of 12 months).  For those of you who don't know, Sonlight's Core F is a study of the countries and cultures of the Eastern Hemisphere where most of the world's unreached (with the gospel, that is) people live.

Measle Bug (8) and I will study Sonlight Core B World History Part 1 together.  This will be my first year to attempt two cores.  I would love some advice from any of you multi-core veterans! 

We'll begin each morning in the Bible together and we'll also study science (human anatomy, physiology, and medicine) all together this year.  I'll read history and literature with the kids daily from their respective Cores.

Monk's 7th grade course of study also includes:

BibleRemembering God's Awesome Acts (Sonlight's Core F Bible program), C.B.S. Hebrews and Deuteronomy, and a bi-weekly study with his dad and other men of the church on various topics, Sonlight's Scripture memory schedule, and Truth and Grace book memorization including the Westminster shorter catechism.  I know this seems like a lot of Bible, but we really want to emphasize training in the Scriptures with our kids.  When I ask myself what my son's course of study would look like if I knew he had one year to live, it would be heavy in the Word of God and light in other subjects.  As far as I know he has more than a year to live, so he will have to continue with Algebra and Grammar this year, but I'm always reminding myself those subjects are secondary.

Math- Teaching Textbooks Algebra II  (Monk is our resident math whiz, well besides me :)

LA- Sonlight's Writing program in LA F, Sequential Spelling, Wordly Wise 7, Keys to Good Language 5

Greek- Hey Andrew... book 4  (Anyone else going through these books?  I'm wondering if our progress is too slow?)

Computer Science- Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python 2nd edition by Al Sweigart  (We're trying to channel Monk's video game interests into a marketable skill.)

Mandarin- various resources-  Because when I first told my husband we were going to learn Mandarin he made some comment like, "Seriously?  Sheesh, I'm glad you're not my mom," I've been taking a fun, easy approach.  That may change as we get into the school year.  And for the record, my husband recently recanted.  He said his life would sure be a lot easier if he'd learned Greek as a kid.  He said he wished his mom had made him learn all sorts of stuff she didn't.  Anyway, I think learning Mandarin is fun.  Lots more fun than watching Star Trek, but maybe that's just me.

Music- piano  (I asked Monk recently if he would like to switch to the guitar.  He said maybe after he's mastered the piano.)

Typing- Mavis Beacon  (He's at 23 wpm and I'd like to see him get to 60 or so.)


Twinkle Toes 5th grade course of study also includes:

Bible- Remembering God's Awesome Acts (Sonlight's Core F Bible program), C.B.S. Hebrews and Deuteronomy, and a bi-weekly Bible study in our home with me and other women of the church on various topics, Sonlight's Scripture memory schedule and Truth and Grace Bible and catechism memorization.

Math- Second half of Saxon 6/5 then first half of Saxon 7/6  (We left Saxon last year only to come running back mid-year.)

LA- Sonlight's Writing program in LA F, A Reason for Handwriting D, Sequential Spelling, Wordly Wise 5, Keys to Good Language 5

Greek- Hey Andrew... book 4

Mandarin- various resources

Music- piano

Typing- Mavis Beacon


Measle's 3rd Grade course of study also includes:

Bible- C.B.S. Hebrews and Deuteronomy, Sonlight's Bible memorization schedule for Core B, Leading Little Ones to God (included in Sonlight's Core B Bible program), Scripture and catechism memory work from TAG books.

Math- Saxon 3, Times Tales, Multiplication flashcards, Singapore 3A and 3B workbooks.  (I'm not purchasing anything new for Measle's math this year.  These are all bits and pieces I have from previous years.)

LA- Sonlight's LA (for 3rd grade readers) including copy work and writing, Wordly Wise B, MCP Phonics C, A Reason for Handwriting T (both printing and cursive)

Greek- Hey Andrew... book 2 (She's moving quickly.  I made the mistake of starting Measle in Greek in the first grade and expecting her to do it independently.  She made it through book 3, but needed LOTS of help from me.  So, toward the end of last year I started her over again in book 1 and she's progressing rapidly on her own.  Note to self:  Don't start your kids in Greek til 3rd grade, if you expect them to do it on their own!)

Mandarin- various resources

Music- Violin  (My mom took Measle to a summer Suzuki music institute and she's really turned a corner in her violin playing.  She was the only one of our kids to earn an O for outstanding at the Greater Southwest Music festival.  As soon as my mom gets her digital recorder working, I'll add some of Measle's music to my playlist.)

Prince (5) will go to Kindergarten this year, as all of his older siblings have gone before him.  Our local elementary school still has half-day Kindergarten and we've had great experiences with the teachers thus far.  Remember that book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten?  Well, let's just say that I could NOT have written that book.  He will join Measle in Sonlight Core C next year for his 1st grade and her 4th grade year.  (I love that they can do the same Core with different readers!)  Prince and I will continue reading through his Five in a Row books whenever time permits.  I bet he'll be the only Kindergartener in his class who can locate Sri Lanka on a world map!  And his Nana says he gets to start violin in January!  (And his mommy says he "gets" to start swim team in the Spring!)  What a busy boy he will be!

Queen (2) even has her own "curriculum" for the 2011-2012 academic year.  She will be learning her letters and learning to serve compliments of Heavenly Homemakers.  I'm so excited about this and can't wait to involve the whole family in some "letter-themed" service projects.  Hopefully this will not only be fun, but provide the accountability I so desperately need during this busy phase of life!  When Measle and Twinkle Toes looked over the Learn your Letters and Learn to Serve book and recipes the other day, they asked if we could go ahead and start early!  Queen will also attend a local Christian pre-school two mornings a week, and of course go to Community Bible Study with us each week.

How's your course of study shaping up?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

When our expectations as parents are too low

Our firstborn son turned 12 this summer.  When I tell people I have a twelve year old there's this inevitable look and tone that says how sorry they are for me.  Those teen years are looming ahead!  Sometimes I'm not quick enough on my feet and fail to get across just what a blessing our son is to us and the kind of young man we fully expect him to continue growing into.  And what makes us think our son will continue growing into a godly man and not into a rebellious teenager over the next few years?

Timothy- "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity."  1 Timothy 4:12

Daniel-  "...young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve..." Daniel 1:4  "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself..."  Daniel 1:8

Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael- "Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.  But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up."  Daniel 3:17-18

Josiah-  "Josiah was eight years old when he became king....  For in the eight year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David; and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images."  2 Chronicles 34:1, 3

David-  "And Saul said to David, 'You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.'"  "Moreover David said, 'The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.'"  1 Samuel 17:33, 37

Samuel-  "And the child Samuel grew in stature, and in favor both with the Lord and men." 1 Samuel 2:26  "So Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground."  1 Samuel 3:19

These young men were no different from our son.  They were all human, like our son.  They all had faith in God, like our son.  We have absolutely no reason to think that God will not continue working in our son, like He did in the biblical examples above. 

Sometimes our expectations as parents are too high.  Sometimes they're too low.  This is one of those times. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Putting Together our Sonlight Instructor's Guide Binders

First off, Sonlight does such a great job of putting together their IGs that you really don't have to do anything with them.  You can use them exactly as they come, like I did our first year.  Being the obsessive control freak that I am, I just had to tweak them.  I do think I've learned from last year's mistakes, though.  I'm not sure what possessed me to move all the study guide notes from the appendices last year up to each week where they would first be used.  Maybe it was the pregnancy hormones.  Maybe it was my crazy friend (you know who you are).  Unfortunately, I only kept up with moving the notes back to the following week for the first few weeks, which means I basically quit using the study guide notes a month into our school year.  Not good.  Another unnecessary effort last year was writing in the kids' science assignments to their Core schedules.  The kids didn't use them, but rather found natural breaks as they worked along.  Monk finished up Apologia's General Science about two weeks after the rest of his subjects, but did quite well and preferred working at his own pace.  So that's what I haven't done this year.  Here's what I have done. 

We have three separate binders this year.  The first is for our Science F IG and activity sheets.  Monk (12), Twinkle Toes (10), Measle (8), and I will all do science together this year (this is a change from last year).  It made sense to me to have a separate Science binder for our IG and student activity sheets.   The activity sheets are at the end of each week's schedule.  Hopefully we'll be able to keep up with them this way.  As you saw in our schoolroom, the Science binder goes in the Science cubby with our other Science resources. 

We also have separate binders for the two Cores we're studying this year.  Measle's pink binder contains her Core B, Language Arts B, and 3rd grade reader IGs.  Monk and Twinkle Toes will be using the red binder, which contains their Core F and LA F IGs. 

Here's how I organized the Core and LA binders.

I used 3 sets of colorful 12 tab index dividers to separate each week's schedule and assignments.  (They come in packages of 6 sets so one package should work for two binders.)  I also bought these handy-dandy paper clip page markers and I'll explain their use in a second.  First, I want to show you how I arranged the weekly schedules.

Behind week one's tab in this order is our Core schedule (Bible, History, Read-aloud, Reader), Language Arts schedule and notes, LA student activity sheets, and Core schedule notes, if any.  The kids should be able to easily find what they're supposed to read and do, without my help.  I've gone over the guides several times with Measle and I think she's got it!

Remember, I decided NOT to move up all the study guide notes this year.  That would work fine if we read each book in a week, but that's not the way it works, so we need some of the note pages for several weeks in a row.  It was even more complicated last year (Core 3 and 4) when some books were used off and on for months on end.  I completely lost track of the study guide notes!  I think what I've done this year will work great and be MUCH easier to maintain.

I used the page markers to mark the first book in each section (History notes, Reader notes, and Read-aloud notes).  All of the study guide notes arrived in alphabetical order, so I took a few minutes to rearrange the notes according to the 4-day weekly schedule we'll be following.  For example, Torches of Joy, seen in the picture above, is the first History book we'll be reading, so it's first.  Then as we finish Torches of Joy and move on to the next book, I'll simply move back our page marker clip to the study guide for the next book.  No hunting for the next guide required!  (I moved the notes for the books in the 5-day schedule, that we won't be reading, to the very back of the binder.)  I put the LA appendix, with info like how to do a research paper, after the Core study guides. 

I arranged Measle's binder the same way.  After her History and Read-aloud study guides, is a tab that marks her Diamond Notes for help with LAs.

I'm really excited about our binders this year.  My goal for the kids is as much independence as possible.  I'll go over our homeschool 2011-2012 plan of action, course of study, and tentative schedule in future posts.

What do your binders look like?  Tweaking last year's system?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Getting our Schoolroom ready!

Friday was Box Day at our house, which means that Friday was also organize the schoolroom day at our house. 

It was either that or leave the books strewn about our entryway. 

The kids dug right in and all started looking over next year's books.  Measle was the most excited about Mr. Popper's Penguins.  I hope she still feels that way now that she's seen the movie.

I was actually feeding Calvin when our boxes were delivered, so I wasn't able to capture most of the Box Day fun.  Queen didn't get any books, but she managed to join in the celebration.

Now, because I know you're interested... pictures of our newly organized schoolroom.

This is the table where most of our schoolwork takes place.  Monk's computer books are next to his computer with programs, paper, and ink in the plastic drawers.

I recently moved most of the kids' books into this room.  The bottom two shelves in the near bookcase have all of Prince's Five in a Row books, Dr. Seuss, Bob books (in the tub), and beginning readers.  Also in that bookcase are books on art, music, poetry, Christian biographies, children's classics, and our Arthur Scott Bailey collection (wonderful animal books written about one hundred years ago.)   The far bookcase contains our Ballantyne and Henty books, a shelf full of creation science books, my aunt's Nancy Drew collection, some used Rover Boys and Bobbsey Twins books, and a small reference section.  And wait, what is that I see in the far corner of the room at the top of the yellow hutch (that was in my bedroom when I was growing up, by the way, and just recently found its way to our schoolroom)?  Could it be an empty shelf?!  See, I told you I was simplifying!

I use these cubbies to hold the kids' independent books and workbooks.  Monk, Twinkle Toes, Measle, and Prince each have one cubby, one holds all our science books and IG (we'll do science together this year), one has their memory boxes, one is full of Magic Treehouse books (Measle has been reading through this series this summer), and one has Greek reference materials that they all share.   My goal for these cubbies is that they look like this all the time.  Normally the kids tend to stack their books and workbooks which looks messy and makes it hard to find what they're looking for.  I'm going to try to start the habit of checking over the cubbies daily.  Let's see how long that lasts!

This beautiful piece of furniture holds most of our current year Sonlight books.  We're making a big change this year, our third with Sonlight.  Measle has her own core this year and she's so excited!  Her IG is in the pink binder, her favorite color.  (I'll talk more about our binders in a separate post.)  The left two bottom shelves are dedicated to Sonlight Core F (Eastern Hemisphere) with the History books and IG on the upper shelf and readers on the left and read-alouds on the right of the bottom shelf.  Measle will study Core B (World History Part I with 3rd grade readers).  Her history books, IG, and read-alouds are on her upper shelf and her readers are on the left side of her lower shelf.  Also on her lower shelf are other books she's currently enjoying (in the basket for easy portability).  Our library books are perched on the edge.  Hopefully we can keep up with them!  The top two shelves in this bookcase hold books that I just can't seem to get rid of.  Many are from my childhood. 

How's your schoolroom coming along? 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

For your listening pleasure and mine...

I just couldn't help myself.  Monk and Twinkle Toes' piano instructor emailed me some recent studio recordings of their playing.  Since I'm always holding a baby and/or toddler during recitals I usually manage to mess up the video taping, like by forgetting the camera.  Anway, I was thrilled to get a few of their pieces in mp3 format so I uploaded them to my playlist for our listening pleasure.   

Twinkle Toes (10) has been playing for 3 years and Monk (12) for 2 years.  The first and third songs are performed by Monk and the middle song was written and performed by Twinkle Toes, our little budding composer.  A big thank you to my parents for paying for their lessons, and to my mom for taking them to their lessons and practicing with them every week.  What a blessing it is to live in a house full of music!

I hope to add more of their songs to my playlist as they're made available to me.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Whose children are they?

Dancing to Vivaldi.

Parenting is hard.  Parenting with purpose is even harder.  Ours isn't the first anti-life, anti-child culture.  God condemned Judah for the same thing over 2,500 years ago.  They were sacrificing their children to the Ammonite god Molech.  We sacrifice our children to the idols of self and humanism, materialism and feminism, through abortion and abortifacient birth-control.  Our culture is divided over the issue of abortion with people lining up on either the pro-life or pro-choice side.  Some Christians welcome into their family as blessings as many children as the Lord gives them and others believe in planning their family size.  The following verses show that we've rather missed the point.

Moreover you took your sons and your daughters, whom you bore to Me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured.  Were your acts of harlotry a small matter, that you have slain My children and offered them up to them by causing them to pass through the fire?  Ezekiel 16:20-21

God didn't see Jerusalem's children as her own to do what she wanted with.  And He doesn't see ours that way either.  Our children are His children.  They're His whether we choose them or not and they're His whether we dedicate them to Him or not.  They're His whether we have two children or twelve.  They're His.   They were His when we bore them and they were His before the foundation of the world.

Queen's ice cream sandwhich face.
We are stewards of God's children.  This is our supreme purpose in parenting.  To take care of and train up God's children for His purposes.  It's a high calling and one we're utterly dependent upon God, His Spirit, His Word, and His grace to accomplish.

I have to confess to you that I think of my children as mine.  I thank the Lord for them, but at the essence of that thanks is that He's given them to me.  Reminding ourselves daily that our children are His, just like our finances are His, is the first step toward good stewardship.  And I long to someday hear from my Lord, "Well done, good and faithful servant."     


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I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.