Thursday, January 31, 2013

Classical Conversations Informational Meeting

Yes...once again, it is Thursday.  Once again, I have not done read alouds with the children.  I hope to start implementing this...I really, really just seems that our time is so crammed sometimes that just getting the basics done is a real accomplishment.  Anyway, instead of making Thursdays for our read-alouds, I think it will be something like Friday...a "free" write about whatever strikes me.  I do intend to share our read alouds once we get to them...

Last week, I wrote a post pre-informational meeting about Classical Conversations.  I had read several blogs about it and some other online information.  After reading those things, I became very interested in what I was going to learn at this meeting.  I took notes, asked lots of questions, and came away feeling like "THIS" is what I have always been striving toward.  It seems like this is the way I was meant to teach and to homeschool my children.  I cannot describe it any other way rather than it just seems to F.I.T. in every way possible. 

Since then, I have been SCOURING for more information.  I feel like I know about as much about CC as I can without being a part of it.  I have found so many positive things about it that today I decided to type into the search box, "things I don't like about Classical Conversations."  A site came up that had a review...and people were asked to list pros and cons.  Almost every single one of them listed, "None," or "I can't think of ANY," in the cons.  I feel the same way!

February 12, I will go for an open house.  This is where we will actually SEE it in action and my children will participate as much or as little as they would like.  There are a few kids in the group that they know already, so it should be a fun experience for them and a learning experience for me. 

(The streets of Italy have never seen such sites as these three!  This was taken at our local art museum last year.)

If you would, please pray that God will show us in an undeniable way if this is what He wants us to be least for the next school year.  I have always said and plan to always make decisions year by year based on what has worked and what has not.  This year, a lot of new things worked...we have actually done a lot better in many areas of homeschooling this year than any other before...BUT there are still changes to be made...and I think that this is one change that will be extremely beneficial to us. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Word from The Word Wednesday

This week's word was a little bit difficult to choose.  There were many words that could have gone with the verses that I am focusing on...and the picture in my mind is hard to condense down to ONE word.  Luke 3:5-6 says, "Every ravine shall be filled up, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall become straight and the rough roads smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God."
Here is what Matthew Henry had to say about these verses..."Here is the fulfilling of the Scriptures, Isaiah 40:3, in the ministry of John...when way is made for the gospel into the heart, by taking down high thoughts, and bring them into obedience of Christ, by leveling the soul, and removing all that hinders us in the way of Christ and His grace, then prepartion is made to welcome the salvation of God."
The picture that I get in my mind after reading this is of a path that is cluttered...cluttered with rocks, logs, and all sorts of debris.  The path has many twists and turns...dips that are just as difficult to go down as to go up...hills, moutains...very "troublesome" terrain.  When John came to proclaim the gospel to the people of that day, he was "clearing the way" for Jesus to enter into the lives of those people!  He went along removing all of the rocks, logs, debris (hinderances) along the path...he, with the help of God, made the path straight...filled in the ravines, made the mountains and hills flat.  The path was made clear so that salvation could come in! 
Should this not be our desire as help the people that we come in contact with to remove the hinderances in their path to salvation?  All the while, we need to make sure that the debris doesn't begin to clutter our path again. 
Dear Lord,
           Thank You for revealing new things to us as we study Your Word.  Even though I had read these verses before, they had never quite given the picture that they did this week.  Help us to "clear the way" prepare...ourselves by removing the hinderances in our life that clutter the path to You.  I pray that my way be clear and prepared to hear You when You speak and to learn from Your Word.  Help us to do as John did as he helped others prepare for You! 
In Jesus name,

Monday, January 28, 2013

OneWord Update (and more changes)

I recently told another blogger friend of mine that January should have it's own four words..."Work Out The Kinks."  It's so true.  Getting things on to a new schedule, or back on to an old one, working on what you want to do NEW for the NEW takes some time to get everything exactly the way that you want, once again, I am making some changes to the plans that I had laid out about three weeks ago... 

I will include the change that I have made along with my update...

Spiritually:  I spent time in the Word last week...daily.  I spent time in prayer daily.  I have been learning a lot and getting closer to God through my time with Him each day.

Homeschooling:  I have kept up with my plans this past week...  We did go off schedule for a couple of days and are catching back up this week...the beauty of homeschooling!  The getting off schedule was not a planned it ever?...some of it I could have helped, some I couldn't have...  The great thing about homeschooling though is that I know where they are and where they need to go...the individualized part of homeschooling that cannot be done in the public schools is one of my main reasons for doing it.  Besides that, I am trying to make some changes for next school year.  While I am ready to make decisions NOW, my husband is one that likes to think about things for a while.  So, I am having to learn patience as I wait for him to decide what he thinks is best, and ultimately for the Lord to reveal to us what he wants for us in the next school year.  It is a tough decision...pros and cons here and I could really use your prayers in this situation...

Health goals:  Do I even want to go here?  Last week was not a good week for being consistent...neither with exercise or with what I was eating/drinking.  I did make it to the gym today though, so hopefully this week will go better.  :) 

Blogging goals:  I blogged four days last that was up to par with my goal.  This is where I am implementing a change.  I think that weekly is too often to update on the OneWord.  I am thinking that monthly would be better.  With that in mind, I have decided to make Mondays something different (haven't really decided yet...).  I will continue to blog four days a week, but Mondays will no longer be for OneWord updates. 

If you chose a OneWord for 2013, I'd love to know how you are doing! 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Are You Close To Your Kids?

As a mother, one of my greatest desires is to be close to my children throughout their childhood and continue as they become adults. How do I get close to them now and stay close to them in the future? ...

Join me for some ideas as I guest post today at Raising Mighty Arrows!

Also linking up at

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Classical Conversations Info Meeting...

Thursdays…supposed to be “What Are We Reading?” days.  Still have yet to work read aloud time into our schedule…so, my post would basically say the same things as it did last week.  My boys are still reading books in the series’ that they each enjoy…and my daughter is doing the same.  However, something important is happening today that I wanted to write a little about. 

Tonight, I am attending an informational meeting about Classical Conversations.  I have heard of this type of homeschooling “style,” but never took time to really find out about how it “worked.”  I am going into this meeting pretty much blind about the whole concept.  My husband and I decided early on which curriculum we were going to use…because he used it when he was homeschooled growing up…so we took off with that and didn’t look back.  Until this year…  This year, I started seeing other curriculums that I thought would work better for our family.  I started to see the positive sides of “other” curriculums and see the not so positive sides of ours.  None of this to say that one curriculum is better than another…but that each family is different…and each year is even different.  What worked for us when we started, may not be working as well five years later.  So, I am going to this meeting tonight to see if it is something that God might have planned for one of the changes to make in the next school year(s). 

As I have read about Classical Conversations from other bloggers, I see that they are learning the things that I have always wanted to teach my child but didn’t feel like I had the TIME to do so.  It may be something that benefits us greatly if we choose to go that direction.  My main struggle is that I do NOT want to have more than one obligation outside of the home during the week.  We are already members of a co-op that meets once a week.  Therefore, if we decided to do Classical Conversations, which also meets once a week, I would have to forego the co-op.  The kids and I have many friends at the co-op…and I have expressed in the blog how thankful I am for the co-op, and the families there that have been such and encouragement and blessing in my life. 

Well, I will write more about the meeting next week…and the decision making process will probably continue until I start to get things ready for the next school year, which wouldn’t be until May or June…so I have plenty of time to mull this over.  I would like to know from any of you familiar with Classical Conversations…what do you like about it?  What do you NOT like about it?  Just the pros and cons from your own personal experience.  What led you to choose Classical Conversations for your family? 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Word From The Word Wednesday

One of the greatest examples we have in the Bible of a person that truly has the joy of the Lord is Simeon (Luke 2:21-35).  He was a man prepared and looking for the Redeemer to come!  After all, he had been told by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen Jesus.  As Mary and Joseph brought baby Jesus into the temple, the Spirit again spoke to Simeon to tell him that the One that he had been waiting for had come!  Simeon held the baby and showed his faith by blessing God and saying that the One he had been waiting for was this Child that he was now holding in his arms.  He also says that he is ready to go from this world now in peace because he was able to see the Savior of the world!  What more joy of the Lord can you ask for?  He had seen the Savior…that was all he was waiting for…and now he was ready to go from this world.
I read Matthew Henry’s commentary on these verses concerning Simeon.  I want to share some of his words with you.  “The same Spirit that provided for the support of Simeon’s hope, provided for his joy…He bids farewell to this world.  How poor does this world look to one that has Christ in his arms, and salvation in his view!  See here, how comfortable is the death of a good man; he departs in peace with God, peace with his own conscience, in peace with death.  Those that have welcomed Christ, may welcome death.”
Simeon had become an old man.  His strength was surely waning…but he had strength to do his daily duties at the temple.  I believe that Simeon not only rested in the hope that the Savior was coming, but he waited joyfully…  In Nehemiah chapter 8, verse 10, we read that the joy of the Lord is our strength.  Simeon rested in his hope, with JOY, that the Savior was coming!  What a day it must have been when the promise given to him was brought to completion!  He was able to hold the Savior in his arms!
Help me to wait for Your return as Simeon waited for Your birth…with hope and joy.  Thank You for coming to earth to be the Savior of all men…if they would only turn to You.  Thank You for Your Word that introduces us to people like Simeon.  Let my strength come from the joy that I find only in You.
In Jesus name,

Monday, January 21, 2013

OneWord Update #2 (and some changes)

I feel much better about writing this post than I did about the one last week.  I have done a lot better with my goals this week, and hope to continue to improve week after week.

Spiritually:  I have had quiet time before the kids got up 4 out of the 5 weekdays this week.  I am very pleased with that.  Of course, 5 out of 5 would have been better, but at least I am improving.  I did have a prayer time daily.  I am also pleased about what I have learned from the Word this week.  I have been studying in Luke and focusing on traits of Zacharius, Elizabeth, Joseph, and Mary.

Health:  As we have gotten farther into the New Year, I have found that some of my good intentions at being consistent are just not going to work with our schedule.  This is where my change comes in.  Going to the gym four days a week would be GREAT, and I’m sure that it would help me reach my health goals more quickly, but it just will not work with our schedule.  Therefore, I am changing this to three days week.  I may change it back to four days after I get a bike…  I could go to the gym three days and then bike ride another day to get four days of exercise in.  My water drinking is still the same.  I have found, through the years, that if I have some sort of water bottle that I can carry around with me, I am much more likely to drink the amount of water that I need.  About 6 months ago, I got a really nice water “bottle” as a gift.  It was made of hard plastic, but still broke when my son accidently knocked it off of the table.  I need to make sure that I get one soon!  I think that I also ate something after 7 p.m. once this week…just like last week.

Homeschooling:  I have kept plans up-to-date.  We are still moving forward on everything else.  We did take a break this week…just because we all needed it.  I plan on schooling on MLK Day anyway, so we will make up for that one pretty quickly.

Blogging:  For the first time, I blogged four times this week!!!  I enjoy writing so much.  This is something that I have come to love!
So...consistency has been better...and hoping to keep moving in that direction.  :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

What is Considered Bullying?

It seems to me that in recent years, there has been a push in our society, especially in our public schools, to stop bullying.  I believe that stopping bullying is a great thing to shoot for…but I just don’t know how well it will work.  It seems that the bullies that I knew in school continued to be bullies…no matter what punishment was given or what “program” was implemented. 

Bullying has been in the spotlight more lately because of the school violence.  It turns out that many of those being bullied eventually “have enough,” and they act out in a violent way.  I can understand  “having enough” and taking action.  The kids that I knew in school who were bullied should have “had enough” on any given day.  When they did, their reactions ranged from tears to shouting to punching the other kid in the nose…but I don’t believe it even crossed their minds to go home, get a gun, and shoot up the whole school.  Things have certainly changed.  I don’t think that we can point at one certain thing that would make these kids choose to KILL the bullies and others along with them… 
Bullying is widely defined within the public school as “taunting, physical abuse, or exclusion from groups and pastimes.”  That definition, in my opinion, is too broad…  Most anything can be considered “bullying.”  Society has definitely taken the definition of bullying too far.  A story I read recently confirmed this.  Here is the situation.  There is an elementary school in Montana.  The students were going to perform a Christmas concert for the parents and others living in the town.  A group of parents wrote a letter to the school threatening to sue them over this Christmas concert if the kids sang any songs with religious connotations, such as “Joy To The World.”  They claim that since there are Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist students, having them sing Christmas songs that refer to Christ is a form of bullying.  It’s a crazy world out there, folks…when we can’t sing about the birth of Jesus at Christmastime because it will be considered bullying.

The strange thing is that I have heard of schools that have taught Jewish songs and Muslim prayers and called it teaching “diversity.”  Somehow anything that promotes Christianity has become bullying.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What Are We Reading??

Thursday’s post were originally supposed to be about what book we were doing in our read-aloud time…that I was supposed to be more consistent about in 2013.  We have not had one read-aloud time in 2013.  We do “read-aloud” the Bible with our Bible time each morning, but my afternoon read-alouds that I really wanted to get consistent about have not fallen into place.  There are many “reasons” for this…but if I think it’s important, and I do, then I need to work it out somehow.  So, instead of telling you about what we are reading and learning in our read-aloud time, I am just going to tell you a little about what we are reading individually (except for me…that will come later.)

My 9 year old son has always loved books.  When he was little, I read to him a lot.  When he was less than 2 years old, I caught him “reading” his favorite book one day!  I was in another room, and I heard him reading the words of the VERY familiar story…and turning pages.  I walked into the room, and he was moving his finger along the words and saying the words…except his finger wasn’t on the words that he was “reading.”  He had memorized the book from having it read to him so many times…but it was mighty cute walking in and seeing him “reading” in his playpen.  His love for books has grown as he has…and he LOVES to read.  He checked out a “Hardy Boys” book at the library a few months ago, and has since read the first 9 books in the series.  Each time we visit the library, he checks out 3 or 4 “Hardy Boys” books.  He usually has these read well before our next visit!

My 8 year old son also enjoys reading…not as much as his older brother, but he does enjoy it.  During the summer, my husband and I watched as he walked through the house, with his nose in a book.  My husband looked at me, and said, “What is he doing?”  I said, “Reading.”  He didn’t want to put the book down!  (I so know how he feels!!!)  My husband thought that it was “interesting” that he was reading during the summer when he didn’t “have” to!  He tried out the “Hardy Boys” books as well, but they didn’t interest him as much as they did his older brother.  So, we got a recommendation from a family member for “The Magic Tree House” books.  He checked out a couple of those, and absolutely loved them.  He is currently on the tenth book in that series.  He has also read a couple of the “Research Guide” books that go along with the series.  Those are not as “interesting” to him because they are usually more non-fiction than fiction. 

My 6 year old daughter would read every minute of every day if she could!  She usually checks out “The Berenstain Bears” books from the library.  She has also recently started reading a series called “The Cul-De-Sac Kids.”  A family member recommended this series to us, and she used some of her own money to buy the first book in the series at “Lifeway.”  We were surprised to find that they also have this series at our local library!  She has read about 4 books in that series.  She really likes the characters, and I will often hear her laughing in her room as she reads!

Do your children have any particular books that they enjoy reading in their “free” time?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Word From The Word Wednesday

I am currently participating in a Bible study with Good Morning Girls.  It is an online Bible study for women.  This was a perfect solution for me because going to a Bible study at a church or someone’s home during the week is not ideal for a stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of three.  I have enjoyed it so much in the years that I have participated and have learned so much.  I encourage you to check out Good Morning Girls if you are looking for a daily Bible study to do from your own home, but communicate with a group of girls via a Facebook group page.
One of the scriptures that we focused on this week was Luke 1:38.  “And Mary said, ‘Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word.’…”  As I reflected on this verse, (as I did recently with reading this same part of Scripture as we celebrated Christmas) I am awed at Mary’s faith.  She was about to carry the Savior of the world!  Her reaction was not to run or to question God’s choice…but to say, “Here I am…I am Your servant.  Use me as You see fit.”  Her faith leaves nothing to be desired.  A young girl who loved God so much that she didn’t question His path for her.
I read Matthew Henry’s Commentary on this verse.  This is the quote that I took down in my journal—“Mary’s reply to the angel was the language of faith and humble admiration, and she asked no sign for the confirming of her faith…  And we must, as Mary here, guide our desires by the Word of God.”
Guide my desires by the Word of God…  To me, that means no doubting, no fearing because He is with me…and He will never leave or forsake me.
I want the faith of Mary!  I am here, willing to serve You.  Let it be to me according to Your Word. 
In Jesus name,

Monday, January 14, 2013

OneWord Update...

Unfortunately, I can’t really say many great things about my CONSISTENCY so far this year.  My daughter became sick, my son became sick...many nights, I got very little sleep…so I didn’t do many of the things that I wanted to do… 

Breaking it down…my spiritual goals…I have spent more time in the Word lately…more time in prayer…not daily like I was hoping because many days this past week, I was just getting through.  We also started back homeschooling this week, so getting back into the swing of things is taking some time. 

My homeschooling goals…I have done really well at planning…setting time at the end of each week to plan and get things together.  I try to get this done on Friday afternoons, but I have had to do some things on Saturday for the past couple of weeks so that Monday through Friday go as smoothly as possible.  I have been focusing on multiplication skills with my boys, and they have done much better this week.  My daughter began counting money this week…she was frustrated at first…but is catching on quickly.  We have yet to begin states and capitols, but I still plan on doing that, hopefully in the coming months.

My health goals…I hope to get that bike next month!  I haven’t exercised much these past couple of weeks.  I do my exercise early EARLY in the morning…the only time that I can fit it in…and after having so many rough nights with my children being sick, I just couldn’t make myself get up so early.  I have done pretty well with my water.  I have started to switch out soft drinks for water during meal times.  I need to add more water for in between times…just to make sure that I get the 64 oz.+ that I want to drink each day…but have yet to get that in gear.  I may have slipped up a couple of times with snacks after 7 p.m. but I am doing better. 

My other goals…well, here I am blogging…hoping to get 4 days of blogging in this week…so I can update that better next week… 

Here’s to a better week…it’s Monday…so a new start!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My 2013 OneWord

I had actually read about the OneWord idea last year (  ...and thought about it for a while.  I did not choose a word or really spend any time thinking about what my OneWord would be…  As I was reminded of it this year, I felt words coming to me almost instantly.  All of the words were nearly the same in meaning and direction…but I couldn’t choose ONE that nailed everything down.  I kept thinking and took time to seek God about the word that He would want me to choose.  He gave me one, alright.  Honestly, He has given me this word many times throughout the years…sometimes I followed through on those things to completion…and some of them are things that I still struggle with today.  So, my word…is CONSISTENT.

Merriam-Webster defines “consistent” as “marked by harmony, regularity, or steady continuity:  free from variation or contradiction.”  As I read that definition, I was sure that I had chosen the right word for what I want to happen in my life this year.  There are many areas of my life that I recognize the need for harmony, regularity, and free from contradiction!  I won’t go into everything here, but I will give some of my goals for consistency in my life.

Spiritually:  This is first for a reason.  I want to be CONSISTENT to be in the Word daily.  I want to be CONSISTENT in spending time with Jesus in prayer daily.  I want to be with wife and mother that God wants me to be…and I believe that comes from spending time with Him CONSISTENTLY.

Health-wise:  I am sure that many of you, like me, start this every year.  I even kept a record last year.  The last date on the record was 1-18-2012.  I didn’t even stay consistent for a month!!!  So, here we go again!  I want this to be a NEW year and not just ANOTHER year…especially in this area of my life.  You see, there is a lot of family history that shakes me when I dwell on it (so I try not to)…rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, alzheimers, diabetes…  As I read information about these health problems, the only thing that I can do at this point (before any diagnoses) is to be as healthy as possible…exercise regularly, be at an acceptable weight, stay active.  One goal in this area is to be CONSISTENT in exercise (at least 4 days a week).  CONSISTENTLY drink WATER!  Another goal is to be consistent to stop eating at 7 p.m.  I did this for a period of time last year…and it was the HARDEST one of my goals.  After the children go to bed, my husband and I usually sit on the couch, watch T.V., relax, and have a snack.  We aren’t REALLY hungry…it’s just the thing to do.  However, when I was consistent in not eating nighttime snacks, I did see a difference in my weight.  It definitely helped.

Other:  I want to be consistent in educating my children.  We have homeschooled all three of them since the beginning, and I want to make sure that I equip them with all that they need to pursue whatever they choose in their life.  I want to be consistent in planning our “lessons.”  I also want to be consistent in doing the things that I want to do…and not just what the books say to do.  For instance, I want them to learn the states in alphabetical order and their capitols this year.  Their books have not gone into any of that yet, but I want them to know it.  I was in the same grade as my oldest son when I was tested over the states and capitols, so I know that it’s about time that he know them…and as long as I’m teaching him, I might as well teach the younger two along with him.  (One of the great things about homeschooling…incorporation of different grade levels!) 

I also want to be consistent with this blog.  I want to write more…four days a week, at least.  As I have looked at and read other blogs, I like the idea of doing a specific thing for a specific day.  So, my ideas thus far are to have Mondays as a time to reflect on my OneWord.  Wednesdays would be “A Word from The Word Wednesdays.”  This is where I would go into what I’d studied in the Bible for the previous week.  Thursdays would be a “What We Are Reading” day…I like to have a read-aloud time with my children every afternoon.  We have some good selections that I’m looking into…and maybe having a day to blog about it will help me to be CONSISTENT in actually stopping what we are doing to have the read-aloud time.  Fridays will be a “free for all.”  This could be a multitude of things…marriage, children, homeschooling, fun things, or just what happened in “life” that week.  I hope to implement these no later than the week of January 14.

This is not an exhaustive list because I really want to get consistent about a lot of things in my life this year!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

A new year is here…  It is now 2013.  That number is hard for me to believe.  It seems like just yesterday we were all thinking about what would happen with Y2K.  However, it IS a new year…and with a new year, most people take time to reflect on the past and look toward the future.  As I was reflecting on the past,  I heard my daughter at the computer.  She had started watching videos that had been loaded on there some time ago.  I heard the laughter, so I joined her as she watched.  As I sat there, I thought, “That was almost three years ago…it is incredible how much the kids have changed!”  To say that I was shocked would be an understatement.  My little girl was 4…my oldest
boy had just turned 7…and my other little guy was just about to celebrate his 6th birthday.  As I listened to them talk, I almost cried.  Their little kid voices have been replaced by bigger kid voices.  Their little giggles have been replaced by laughs and chuckles.  Chubby little cheeks are long gone.  What happened?!  All of this change in almost three years time… 
While I am anxious to watch my children grow up, I don’t want it to happen too fast.  One day, they will be all grown up and not be depending on me as much as they do today.  I write this to remind us all, including myself (especially myself), to take pictures, make videos, do projects…do whatever you can with them now.  I don’t do this as well as I should…but this was a reminder to me that those things will bring back precious memories someday. 
I am glad that with a touch of a button, I can see and hear my little girl at four years old.
How quickly she went from this...
 to this.
I am glad that I have a video of my son, missing his two front teeth and therefore speaking with a bit of a lisp. 
 Missing teeth to...
looking so grown-up.
I am glad that I can see my little blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy doing finger painting with both hands entirely blue! 
My little man...

is a handsome young man...
I don’t want to miss these seemingly unimportant things that will become sweet memories much more quickly than I want to imagine…