Wednesday, August 29, 2012


can i tell you how much more relaxed i was Monday morning than i was about a year ago? :) mercy.

and that's totally a God thing, my friends.

started the day with some prayer, the Word, and copious amounts of COFFEE. gathered some books and supplies and realized i totally failed to put together their notebooks as i had intended prior to school starting. i so rock. BUT! i have discovered a wonderful online planning tool that has allowed me to create and print out lesson plans for each girl so they'll know exactly what is on tap for the day. (always subject to change. it's the beauty of homeschooling. and the randomness that is my brain.)

it's a big change from last year where we sat down each morning and i had a generally vague idea of what we were going to focus on that day, but nothing set in stone. it totally worked and we got done everything we needed to get done (again, God thing!) and there was actual learning that took place. excellent. :)

Monday morning, one of the first things we did was a review of our history study from last year. we follow (mostly) a classical education format where we cycle through history every 4 years. last year, being our 1st year, was ancient history through the fall of rome. i was so impressed with (and nearly in tears over) the amount of information that the girls both retained from last year. wow! much more than i did, that's for sure! (my brain's getting old and cluttered.)

this year we are using a new curriculum called Tapestry of Grace. i am all fired up about it. it came highly recommended by a friend and after much research and prayer, finally decided to dive in. it follows the 4 year history cycle so we'll be able to merge seamlessly into the new curriculum at year 2. year 2 covers the middle ages, the reformation (can't wait!) and we'll wrap up with the american revolution at the end of the year. SO. AWESOME.

i love when people ask me what we use for curriculum. there are so many amazing options out there that the most overwhelming part isn't finding something that works, it's whittling it down to just one thing that works best! and i love to know what other homeschooling mamas use and what works for them. so here is a list of what we are using this year.

kenna girl - grade 7

bible: "wise up: wisdom in proverbs"
awesome middle school study that covers the book of Proverbs

math: teaching textbooks - grade 7
LOVE THIS PROGRAM. such a Godsend for this math hating mama!

art/music appreciation: harmony fine arts - medieval and renaissance
so impressed with this! also follows a classical format and is WAY INEXPENSIVE for a year's worth of lessons! LOVE.

history/literature/geography/church history/art: Tapestry of Grace
so far, sooo impressed with this curriculum. makenna will be following the dialectic track which is primarily for grades 6-9. lots of discussion of topics as they form connections between events in history and move from simply memorizing information and regurgitating facts to understanding WHY things have happened in history as they have (and all from a christian perspective. history is "His story". can't get that in public school these days.)

science: apologia "exploring creation with general science"
again, science from a christian perspective. we learn about the world GOD created. yay!

latin: "classical latin creatively taught: latin for children, primer a"
we are using this instead of a separate grammar curriculum. and did you know 50% of the english language (as well as other languages) is descended from latin? pretty cool. i wanna learn it.

vocabulary: wordly wise 3000
i'm a word nerd. and i want my girls to know good words, too. :)

as far as extra-curriculars go, kenna's still playing the guitar like a champ (seriously, this girl is GOOD.) and playing on the volleyball and basketball teams at Victory Christian Academy in Valparaiso. what a HUGE BLESSING this school has been for us the past year! not only has kenna made some great friends but it has given her the opportunity to continue playing sports which is one of her great loves. so thankful that they are so accepting of homeschoolers - they've always made her (and the whole family!) feel at home. cannot say enough good things about them. thanks VCA!

laney kate - grade 5

for laney, we are using the same programs for science (they do it together), Bible, art/music appreciation, vocabulary (level 5), and latin. in the Tapestry program, she will be doing her studies along the Upper Grammar track, which is primarily grades 4-6 (still working on memorization of facts, dates, etc.) but i will definitely challenge her with some of sissy's Dialectic studies as well.

math: saxon math 6/5
even though sissy's math curriculum is computer based, laney loves this program (her sister did not) there are lots of problems, lots of repetition, and lots of fun little boxes to check off once you've completed a portion of the lesson. she loves that. she's totally her father's daughter. :)

which leads me to another aspect i LOVE about homeschooling - you get to discover your children's strengths and weaknesses academically. we will challenge them in the subjects that they love and grasp fully and be able to review and really dig into subjects with which they struggle. there is no "scope and sequence" per se. and that's ok. last year i stressed out SO MUCH over whether they were learning "what they should". my flesh wanted to really impress the socks off of everyone by producing super smart, well-adjusted, socially proficient, trilingual children. :) but as Voddie Baucham, one of my favorite pastors, said at the Texas homeschool conference this summer...

"it's idolatry."

man, it TOTALLY is. the goal of educating my children at home is not to prepare them for an Ivy league school. it's not to "prove" to anyone that our way is better. it's not to fill their brains with facts and problems. it's to disciple them, to love them, to ENJOY them before they leave my nest and fly away. which is approaching faster than i ever dreamed.

is homeschooling for everyone? i could never say that. it's a calling. just as you don't judge me for NOT being a missionary to africa, i don't judge you for not homeschooling. it's not something i ever dreamed i would do, nor am i equipped to do! people always say "i could never do that, i'm not organized." (holy crow, i wish you could see my kitchen table right now. it's like Barnes and Noble threw up all over it.) or "i could never do that, i don't have the patience." this one always makes me laugh a little on the inside. i have ZERO. but thankfully God is totally aware of this and continues to give me GRACE that covers the times i fail (MANY.) and blesses me through the victories.

when i started this blog, the intention was to encourage mamas struggling with anxiety (and motherhood in general) and not to be a homeschooling blog. i will definitely get back to that! this is just such a major facet of my life right now that i'm hoping you will stick with me through my life changes (that seem to cause me anxiety! lol) so that i can encourage you through yours.

pray for me as i seek God's perfect will for my family and the strength of heart and discernment to know it and follow hard after it. and i will be praying for all you sweet mamas out there who are joining me in doing the same.

"Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak."

ISAIAH 40: 28-29

love you girls.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

hi, i'm new here.

well, not really. but i've been away for so long i feel like i should reintroduce myself. :)

suffice it to say, we've been a tad bit busy. (aren't we all, really?) and as i've said before, blogging sometimes seems like the most narcissistic thing in the world. i am quite aware that your worlds have turned steadily on as i've failed to blog and, one way or another, we've all made it to today.

congratulations, friend. :)

oh mercy, where to start. homeschooling has been such an incredible journey this past year. God has revealed SO. MUCH. in me that has needed to be refined and burned away. so much selfishness. so much ungratefulness. and while there are still rampant impurities, there is also a glimmer of proof that we're heading in the right direction. thank You GOD.

there have been so many things tumbling about in my mind these past few weeks. i've contemplated blogging about it all but i haven't known what to start with first. true confession here: i have several character flaws. (shocking, i'm sure.)

*i tend to procrastinate and i have adult a.d.d. (self-diagnosed, but still. i know. so does anyone else who REALLY knows me.)

*i have a hard time making decisions. big things, small things, makes no difference.

*i'm a people-pleaser and i tend to be very insecure as a result.

all of these contribute to my inability to just be honest and blog. but God is stirring up my heart and lovingly encouraging me to rest in Him and let go of these earthbound tendencies. i long for FREEDOM and "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom". (2 Cor. 3:17)

so, as i sort through blogging topics, those things that i feel God is pouring into my heart, i want to encourage you, sweet mama, to "throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles" and run, full on, without abandon, towards Jesus "the author and perfecter of our faith". (hebrews 12:1-3) and the only way we can do this, the only way we can know the "good, pleasing and perfect will" of God (romans 12:2) is by "fixing our eyes on Jesus".

at the beginning of every day, let us commit our schedules, our errands, our words, our every thought to the Lord. invite Him into every situation. ask Him to bathe our day in grace.

in every decision, big or small, pray "God, reveal to me Your perfect will". then make a choice. and TRUST Him. believe it or not, He can work with our dumb mistakes. (romans 8:28) SUCH a relief.

let us rest in the freedom He provides, through His Holy Spirit, to those who belong to Him.

let us go forth in boldness and confidence, assured that He will provide the words to speak, and the compassionate ears to hear, at just the right moment with just the right person.

that he would Divinely intervene in the midst of our day and He would give us the grace to know it, to see it and be THANKFUL for it.

that we would not be bound by fear of man (or woman) and be FREE to "live, and move and have our being" in the grace and mercy He abundantly provides.

that we would provide refreshment and grace for those we meet on our mutual journeys, no matter where we are in the process, valley or mountaintop. to refrain from judgment and scrutiny, and pray fervently for our fellow sisters in Christ as we strive to be the best wives, mamas, friends, daughters, and servants we can be. to love each other like crazy and embrace each other, flaws and all.

what a blessing you are to me, dear friends. love y'all.

"You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast
because they trust in You.
trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD, the LORD Himself
is the Rock eternal." psalm 26:3-4