Monday, September 29, 2008

School Logo


I had a few minutes earlier today and did something I've been wanting to do for a long time now. I created a logo for our homeschool. We named our school Integitas Academy last year. Integritas is Latin for integrity. We wanted to choose a Latin name to pay homage to our classical roots. We began homeschool using strictly a classical approach. I'd now consider us eclectic homeschoolers heavily influenced by both the classical and Charlotte Mason approaches.

I created the logo using my Storybook Plus software from Creative Memories. I'm a consultant with Creative Memories. This software was designed to create digital scrapbook pages but I'm constantly amazed at its versatility.

Anyway, this was a lot of fun. My husband knows a guy who prints shirts, so I'm planning on getting some for the kids and us. I'd like to have t-shirts with our logo for play and outside fieldtrips. And I'd like to get some polo shirts with the logo for when we do school trips to inside places like the theater. Pin It Now!

Another post about cleaning...sort of.

Once again, school has been set aside for a day of cleaning. Our house has been on the market for a year now. We felt certain at the time that putting a For Sale sign in the front of our beautiful just-custom-built-3-years-ago-to-raise-our-family-in home was what God wanted us to do. It's been a rough couple of years, struggling to pay a too-high mortgage because we weren't wise home buyers and then having a loss of income, a surgery, a cut in pay, etc., etc. But, alas, the home will not sell. There is simply no one looking.

Recently, there has been a turn of events, and we were beginning to think that maybe it was God's plan for us to stay in the house after all. But, yesterday we got the call...the first in four months actually. Someone wants to see the house.

So mad cleaning has taken place here last night and today. Now, I'm just trying to maintain the cleanliness with six kids under eight living here until 6pm. It feels impossible and somewhat depressing.

Well, I guess I'll try to figure out how to fix lunch without making any mess or using any dishes. Pin It Now!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Blogger Friend Assignment #103

Memory Verse: 1 Timothy 4:15 (NIV)
Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.

Intro: It keeps going, and going, and going…. (Marketing credit: Energizer)

Housekeeping: that household mess, it keeps going and going and going. It’s a perpetual chore that we diligently need to keep going on to stay on top it. We all have different ways of keeping ourselves energized.

Assignment: How do you keep energized so you can get it all done? bouncy music? treat it like a workout? Do you use a schedule?, a housekeeping binder system? luck of the draw system?.. or is this an area where you need encouragement? Do you need God’s help to keep order and beauty in your dwelling place? Take this week to tell us how You diligently keep going with your housekeeping chores.

Oh, I am far past needing encouragement in this area. I need serious, SERIOUS prayer! Housekeeping is not a talent that I possess. Especially housekeeping while homeschooling and raising six children under eight. I am constantly pushing this to the back burner.

My goal is to have morning chores, afternoon chores, and after dinner chores. In the morning the kids have a morning routine which includes making their beds and cleaning their rooms. I'd like to make my bed at this time as well, though more often than not, I am nursing the baby and/or fixing breakfast at this time. My daughter is supposed to put laundry in and out of the washer/dryer two times a day and fold the clean clothes. I still have to oversee all of this and more often than not the clean clothes lay unfolded in a laundry basket. I do clean the kitchen after every meal, but often let the dishes pile till the evening. (Our dishwasher doesn't work so we have to wash all dishes by hand.) In all honesty, most evenings my husband is the one who washes the dishes and puts the clothes away...if they get put away at all. I'm desperate for the help, but I hate that he has to come home from a long day at work to a house full of work.

I've always saved Saturday as the day to do our really deep cleaning (mopping, windows/mirrors, dusting woodwork, tubs/toilets, etc.). This works well except for the Saturdays we have something planned. About once a month everything builds up so much that I explode and go into frenzy cleaning mode. All the kids are enlisted, which usually means they are given Mr. Clean Magic Erasers and ordered to scrub every visible surface. This happened on Tuesday of this week. All schoolwork stopped and we considered it a day of Home-Ec. I'd love to post pictures of all we accomplished, and we really did accomplish a lot of cleaning...but it's Friday now, so there's no evidence of cleanliness or order left. Pin It Now!

Shorter and shorter

I cut my hair again. I know...I know...everyone thought I had just gotten in cut. But in fact I did that a couple of months ago. It was my "Summer cut". I figured it was time to update my picture since the last one I had posted here was from two babies ago. That's how I measure babies.

Actually, I had a full day of beauty yesterday. Isn't that fun? My husband's high school reunion is this weekend (we met in high school, but I was a year behind him). And since I haven't lost any baby weight in three months, I needed a full day to prepare for the event. I'm just crossing my fingers that every woman there has just had a baby three months ago and that none of them are that "Oh-I-actually-lose-weight-when-I'm-pregnant" types.

So, my husband had his off day yesterday and happily really, stay home with the kids so I could have my day. He even homeschooled them! Aren't I blessed?!

I called up my Dad and asked him if he would want to take me shopping for an early Christmas present...yes, my Daddy still spoils me rotten. So he suffered through a shopping trip (it only lasted an hour) and bought me a new outfit. Then we had lunch together. We usually do this for my birthday, but didn't this year. I was seven months pregnant, and there was really no reason to buy me clothes. So I'm glad we got to spend the time together yesterday.

Then, I rushed off to have a pedicure...OK, really, these are not typical activities for me. The whole day was actually planned around the pedicure, because I won a free pedicure at a homeschool event. It was at an upscale salon and spa and was VERY nice. My toes are now a pretty purple to match the new top my Dad bought me.

I finished off my day at my friend's salon. She has been cutting my hair since three babies ago...remember how I measure time?...and we went to high school with her. She'll actually be at the reunion this weekend. She does a wonderful job and gives us what she calls "the big family discount". I usually just let her do whatever she wants with my hair. Typically, we go lighter in the summer and darker in the fall. I have naturally dark hair.

She really stretched me this time though because she wanted to cut it way shorter than its ever been cut before. I agreed...hesitantly. I actually screamed, "WAIT!" right before the first cut and had to have her reassure me one more time. Not surprisingly, she was right. The cut is very cute.

So without further ado (you should be warned, I'm not wearing makeup...this picture is for informational purposes only)...

Photobucket Pin It Now!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Yes, My Hands Are Full.

Our family creates quite a scene at the grocery store.

It’s not that my children are ill-mannered. To the contrary, my children are usually very well-behaved in public. (Please note that I did say usually…our kids are kids and kids are…well, kids.) But, while at the grocery store, we do implement a “one-hand-on-the-cart-at-all-times” rule that is punishable by death.

Plus, saying “no” to my children is sort of like an art form to me. I have mastered it quite well. Sometimes I sing it to them. Sometimes I say it even before they ask. And sometimes I even say no to perfectly reasonable requests just for the fun of it. All this to say that they have learned very quickly that I will not succumb to the “I wannas” at the store. They don’t even ask.

No, our issue is not in the behavior of our children, but in the quantity of them. I have six children and while I know many large families, it seems that any time we go to the grocery store, no one on the whole green earth has actually seen a family of six before. We get stares, gasps, looks of shock and pity. Sometimes we get very nice comments. Sometimes we get not-so-nice comments. But mostly we get questions…the same questions over and over again.

So because I know you all are dying to know, I have summed it all up for you here in one short paragraph…

Yes, they are all mine. Yes, we are crazy, but that happened a long time ago and has nothing to do with the size of our family. No, neither one of us come from particularly large families. Yes, my hands are full…usually of dirty diapers and baby wipes. No, we are not Catholic. Yes, we do know how his happens and we actually do have hobbies. Yes, we’ve seen Jon and Kate Plus 8. And finally (try not to be shocked now) YES, WE DO WANT MORE! Pin It Now!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How Columbus helps us to share our faith.

We have been reading D'ualaire's Columbus and discussing how Columbus wanted to find riches in the new land and bring them back to the King and Queen of Spain. He also wanted to spread the Good News of Christianity to the natives that he met. So today we made a fun craft to illustrate this.

First, we made treasure boxes. I bought these gift boxes last night at Garden Ridge as the store was closing. It's been years since I've shopped there, but they use to sell kids crafts so I was hoping to find the crafty treasure boxes that kids can color and decorate. However, I was informed they no longer sell crafts (when did this happen?) So we made these gift boxes and necklace beads work.

This is the inside of the treasure box.

Then we made Witness Bracelets. Each bead (and even the knots) represents a different part of the gospel. The following is from this site I found that tells how to make the bracelets:

The First Knot reminds me that I am created to love God and to live with Him.
Genesis 1:27 - God created man (humans) in His own image

The Black Bead reminds me that sin keeps me away from God.
Romans 3:23 - Everyone has sinned. No one measures up to God's glory.

The Red Bead reminds me that Jesus is my Way out of sin and back to God.
Romans 5:8-9 - But here is how God has shown His love for us. While we were still
sinners, Christ died for us.

The White Bead reminds me that my new life with Jesus is clean and pure. No matter what I have done in the past, Jesus makes me brand new.
I John 1:7 But suppose we walk in the light, just as He is in the light. Then we share life with one an other. And the blood of Jesus, His Son, makes us pure from all sin.

The Green Bead reminds me to read my Bible, to pray, to obey & to worship God so my faith will grow.
Ephesians 4:15 We will speak the truth in love. We will grow up onto Christ in every way.

The Clear Bead reminds me to wait for the Holy Spirit to help me.
II Thessalonians 2:13b The Lord loves you. God chose you from the beginning. He w anted you to be saved. Salvation comes through the Holy Spirit's work. He makes people holy. It also comes through believing the truth.

The Blue Bead reminds me to choose to be more like Jesus.
Romans 8:14 Those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

The Yellow Bead reminds me that God has a better place waiting for me.
Philippians 4:4-5 Always be joyful because you belong to the Lord. I will say it again. Be joyful. Let everyone know how gentle you are. The Lord is coming soon.

The Last Knot reminds me that God chose me so that I can choose God.
John 14:1-3a Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God. Trust in Me also. There are many rooms in My Father's house. If this were not true, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. If I go and do that I will come back. And I will take you to be with Me.
Pin It Now!

TOS Affiliate

I just wanted to let you know that I've just became an affiliate with The Old Schoolhouse magazine. I really love this magazine and the products they offer through their store. If you're thinking about ordering homeschool products or subscribing to their magazine, please consider doing so by linking through my site first. Just click on their button on my sidebar! Pin It Now!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

September Creation Club

I attended our local Homeschool Convention in July. It was a small convention by convention standards, but I simply cannot resist the lure of inspirational speakers and vendor halls. Imagine my surprise when I noticed a familiar name on the list of speakers. I had been reading Cindy's blog for a couple months doing research into incorporating nature study into homeschool. I had no idea that she was from my area. I attended REALLY great sessions on Saturday, including one on nature study taught by Cindy and Melissa. Let me tell you, these ladies and their blogs are gems!

At the session, they mentioned starting a Creation Club. Cindy describes a Creation Club better than I could. But basically it's a nature study group. Now, if you know me at all, you know that I don't mix well with nature. I can still remember vividly standing on the shore of a lake when I was about 6 screaming at the top of my lungs, frozen in terror as my two older sisters pointed and laughed because there was a bug on me. I recounted this story with my sister recently and how they refused to help me. She said, "Well, we were afraid of the bug too."...yeah, they looked terrified.

Even now, I rarely go outside to just be outside. We lived with my mom for a couple of months one summer while our house was being built. We pulled into the driveway one afternoon. The sun was shining, everyone was outside doing outside things, the kids jumped out to play...and all I wanted was to go inside, down to the basement and curl up on the couch under a heavy blanket in the air conditioning. I know this unhealthy, you really don't need to tell me.

Nevertheless, I believe in the importance of nature study and letting the kid's explore God's creation. I also know, that left on my own, I would procrastinate and never get around to doing this with the kids. I thought the Creation Club sounded like a great idea and I contacted the homeschool group I'm a part of. I had well over 20 families respond. Several of us met in August to decide how we would operate the club.

Luckily for me, these wonderful moms were willing to help. We decided on meeting monthly at parks and nature centers all around our area. Each month we will meet on a different day of the week and at a different location, since we have a lot of families interested and there is no way to make everyone happy. Two moms will plan the event, pick the date, and location. The next month will be planned by someone else. Also, we focus on a different theme of nature each month. Like this:

Sept. - Insects
Oct. - Trees/leaves
Nov. - Animals/How nature prepares for winter
Dec. - Evergreens
Jan. - Birds
Feb. - Fossils/Rocks
Mar. - Ponds
Apr. - Earth Day (focus on ways to be responsible with God's creation)
May - Wildflowers

We met this past Wednesday for our September meeting at a local park. Two women who worked at the park designed an educational program about insects for our group.

I was so excited to see more than 25 kids from little babies to teenagers!

Our wonderful teachers taught us about the anatomy of insects and prepared some fun activities for the kids.

Insects find each other by using their senses of smell and hearing. So each child picked up a film canister that had a nail hole punctured in the top. Inside was a different scent (mint, peanut butter, etc.). There was two of each scent and all the kids had to walk around smelling each other's canisters to find their match.

They also had canisters filled with different small objects (sunflower seeds, candy, thumb tacks). This time they had to shake the canisters and try to find their match without opening the canisters to see what was inside. This was really hard.

This is my H3 and E5 shaking and listening.

Finally we went on a scavenger hunt looking for insects to catch and view up close. Here A6 looks closely at an ant.

Another young man holds up a wasp.

Some of the insects were drawn in nature journals.

Then we released the insects back into nature.

All the kids had a good time. Here E1 poses with a big stick. What is it with boys and sticks?
He just got his hair cut that morning.

Too handsome!

Baby L was content with Daddy.
Photobucket Pin It Now!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Try it, You'll Like it.

Memory Verse: Psalms 26:2 NIV
Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.

Assignment: This week I want you to do something for someone else. Do you have a neighbor that needs you? Do you know an elderly person or single mom that could use you? What about the homeless? Pack even one single sack lunch and give it to someone in need. Do you know someone in blogland that is struggling right now and could use a note from you about how much you care? Pray about this. Let God put on your heart the perfect thing for you to do for another. Now, here is the kicker…I DO NOT want you to post about what you do. Whatever you choose to do is between you and God. Our rewards are in heaven, not here on earth, Mathew 6:1. I want you to post about how doing this “act” made you feel. Was stepping out of your comfort zone in this area as hard as you thought it might be? Could you see the gratefulness in their eyes? Hear it in their voice? Tell it from their typing? Do you think you might make doing things like this a more regular part of your time? If this is an area that you are already active in, tell us how you feel this has impacted your life.

When I was growing up, my number one fear was that of humiliation. I made it a goal in my life to never put myself in any "potentially embarrassing situation". I was content with being a wallflower.

As a result, I rarely took chances, participated in NO group sports, and remained out of the spotlight.

I became a Christian in 2000. I was passionate about my faith and began to share it with my close friends and family. God gave me courage to speak up, but I truly hadn't moved out of my comfort zone yet.

I realized that this was an area God wanted me to work on about 5 years ago. We go to a very large church and were attending a Sunday evening worship service one night. This event is a high energy worship experience put on by the college age ministry. As we entered the sanctuary, we were stopped and asked to fill out a simple survey.

I was enjoying the service sitting way in the back - I mean, really, who wants to sit in the front?! Our youth minister came out to preach. He spoke about how the Holy Spirit is like a river. If you are on a white water raft, you will be pulled along by the river's current this way and that. This is a wild and exciting ride (so I've been told), but it can also be quite frightening. After all, you are no longer in control.

Then the preacher did something totally unexpected. He brought out the white basket that we had all slipped our surveys in. He announced that he would be drawing a name and asking them to come on stage to receive a $50 gift certificate. Everyone clapped excitedly...except me. There was no way I wanted to go up there! No exaggeration, there were nearly 1000 people in there! Then the preacher said no, actually the person who's name was drawn would need to come to the stage to sing "Amazing Grace". He encouraged us to not be afraid, but to be pulled along by God's leading. And then he did it. He pulled my name. He pronounced it wrong (everyone's Shanna, rhymes with banana, in case you're wondering), but he pulled my name.

My husband looked at me with a funny grin like, Are you going to bolt? and before I knew it, almost in slow motion, I said, "" Now, I know this sounds like I was using the Lord's name in vain. But I wasn't. From the very depths of my soul, I was crying out to Him.

And that's when I realized it. He was going to make me go up there. Not the preacher...but God. God was going to make me go up there. So I decided I would.

About this time, oblivious to me sitting way in the back, the preacher said, "No, I'm just kidding. She doesn't really need to come up here."

I believe I was changed that night. God began to teach me to let go of my fear of being embarrassed, because it was holding me back from what He had planned. Don't get me wrong, I still shake in my boots when I feel God tugging at my heart to say something or do something for someone that is out of the ordinary. But it never fails...if I don't do it, I feel disappointed, like I missed out on something. And when I do, I feel SO blessed.

We were asked to share a picture of our hands. I drew this in my art journal a couple of years ago...


This is what I wrote with it:

In my wildest imagination, I can imagine You, my Maker, forming man from the dust. Mixing it with water to make clay. Rolling the clay into a tiny ball and then pressing it firmly with the palm of Your hand. With Your fingernail You cut into the clay - one, two, three, four slits. You roll the slender slivers between Your thumb and forefinger. As You work, Your fingerprints leave delicate lines in the hand that You are forming. This hand that You've made, I raise to You in everlasting praise.

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." -Psalm 139: 13-14 Pin It Now!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Chalk School

This week we are studying sea turtles in our Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day study. One of the suggestions in the book is to draw the actual size of a leatherback in chalk on your driveway.

The leatherback is six feet wide and nine feet long. Isn't it cool that we homeschool and get to do this?!

Another proud homeschooling moment...

My six year old decided to let the entire neighborhood know that we homeschool. TRANSLATION: My Mom teach me ....*sigh*. Pin It Now!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Intructions in Teaching Drawing

We have been participating in Harmony Art Mom's Sketch Tuesday for the past few weeks. This has been a really fun way to encourage the kids to do drawing practice. Harmony Art Mom displays all of the completed assignments on her blog on Tuesday and the kids love seeing their sketches online!

I co-owned a wall mural business for five years and taught art for four years. When I scheduled our school year this year I didn't schedule any time for drawing practice or choose an art curriculum, because I figured - in our house - drawing just happens. However, since I was not intentional, drawing was not happening. Sketch Tuesday has given us a reason to draw.

Like I said before, I do not use an art curriculum. So often, people have said to me, "I could never draw like that. I don't have that gift."

My answer is always the same. "Yes, you can. Drawing is a learned skill."

God is an artist and we are created in His image. Certainly some are given more natural talent than others in this area, but everyone can learn and become accomplished in the skill of drawing. I know this to be true, because I learned to draw. I am not naturally gifted as an artist.

First, you must teach your students to use references and observe them carefully. This is so hard for children, because they only want to draw from their imagination. There is a time to just let children doodle. But when they are working on drawing as a skill they need to use references, either from life or from a picture.

When my friend and I painted wall murals, we would have a reference for EVERYTHING we were, trees, people...and we would tape them to the wall where we were painting so that we could look at them as we were painting. When first starting it is easier to look at another artist's drawing or painting. You can often see the lines of the artist's pencil or brush and mimic them. It takes a while before you will be able to mimic the lines of a "real" picture or object as well.

Let your students "copy the masters" by giving them a copy of a famous piece of art and having them recreate it. DON'T LET THEM TRACE! But encourage them to look closely at the picture and draw it just as the artist drew it. They will get better with repeated practice. Praise their efforts, but don't be afraid to point out a mistake and show them how to correct a line that is a little wobbly or a shape that is not the right proportion.

Instruct them to DRAW LIGHTLY and to USE THEIR ERASERS! This will need to be repeated to little ones again, and again, and AGAIN. Students often want to just draw the picture quickly and be done. But drawing correctly always involves erasing your mistakes and making improvements so that your drawing looks more like your reference. (Just like editing a paper, the first draft is not the final product.) But if the student is not drawing lightly, he will not be able to erase completely. This makes for a very messy project. Once the student is certain he likes the drawing the way that it is, he can always go back and darken his lines.

It is always helpful if you, as the teacher, are willing to show the students how to draw SOME projects step-by-step. They will need to watch the movement of your hand, see how you draw and correct your mistakes to fully understand it themselves.

Our assignment this week for Sketch Tuesday was to draw something with a door. A6 picked a picture of a tree house from a book to draw. As you can see, I propped the book up so that both A6 and I could see it. I would point to what I was drawing in the book and then draw a line on the whiteboard. A6 would draw the same line and then we would continue.

Here is A6's finished product. (Please forgive the wrinkles - E1 got a hold of it, before I could take any pictures.)

This is G7's drawing of a castle. We did it the same way. We looked at a picture in a book and I drew it step by step on the board.

If you don't feel confident drawing step by step with your child yet, try buying a book that does this for you like Draw, Write, Now. You can also rent Bob Ross videos from the library and have your children watch him draw. You can also watch free videos online of Jan Brett, children's book illustrator, drawing step by step.

Encourage your children to draw and draw and draw some more. This is how they will see their greatest improvement. Pin It Now!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bible for little ones

We start our homeschool day by reading a bible story/devotional using a Bible curriculum that I bought at a homeschool convention last year. I haven't been totally satisfied with it mostly because there are no pictures. It really doesn't engage the littlest ones and overall, our Bible time has just seemed bland and boring.

I recently bought the Read with Me Bible for E5's birthday and I love, love, LOVE the illustrations in it. They are so expressive. So I have decided to read a story from it each day and have an activity.

On Monday we will read a story and copy our memory verse for that day on an index card to put in our memory verse box. Find out how to make a memory verse box here.

On Tuesday, we will read a story and draw what we read that day in a bible notebook.

On Wednesday, we will read a story and make a craft.

We are at a co-op on Thursday, but when we are home we will just add to our bible notebook.

On Friday, I will let the kids act out any of the stories we read that week.

In addition to our memory verses, the kids are also memorizing a verse a week of a hymn or worship song. They have already learned Tis So Sweet to Trust In Jesus and this week we will begin learning Holy is the Lord. Pin It Now!

Friday, September 12, 2008

All About E5

Isn't it a marvel how all children are different? It took one week of homeschooling for me to realize that the phonics program I used with the oldest two was not going to work for E5. I guess I could have made it work...but that would've caused lots of stress and tears (on both of our parts). And since one of my goals for this year is that there will no crying in homeschool, we stopped using that program and went on a search for a new one.

I found one that I like. It teaches all of the phonetic sounds, uses Explode the Code, and even has fun manipulatives that I'm sure E5 will love. Now, we just have to wait for it to arrive via UPS.

What do we do while we wait, you ask?

Why, we make a lapbook, of course!

This is an All About Me lapbook from Live and Learn Press. You can download this lapbook there for free!

We are using the lapbook to help remember important information.

We talked about different parts of the body...

...and what you can do with them.

Included is a timeline of his life...

Photobucket member's names...

...vital statistics like weight, height, hair color, etc. ...

Photobucket acrostic poem using his name, and some of his favorite things.

Also, the three most important things E5 thinks you should know about him...

1. I love Jesus.

2. I love people.

3. I want to be in the air force and love Jesus.

Cute, huh?

Here's his self-portrait that we glued to the front. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Memory Verse: Psalms 55:22 - Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee; He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

Assignment: This would be a good week to tell about your worst struggles with a lifestyle of homeschooling. Tell about something you’ve struggled with and how God’s mercies gave us the strength to get past it. Also, share any curriculum/homeschool methods that have been a relief to you, i.e., a particular Teacher’s Manual or Homeschooling method that’s been easier for your family. Talk about how you felt when the burden was lifted and Oh, What a Relief it is!

I wrote about our struggles with teaching G7 to read back in May and I'll share that again here...

My Cup Runneth Over Today

Hubby was off today and took the girls on a daddy date, so I had the opportunity for a relaxing time with the boys. I purchased a "Read and Learn with Classic Stories Grade 1" published by McGraw-Hill over the weekend for $3 at a yardsale. There are six classic stories all with several pages of follow up fun worksheets for each story.

G7 is just coming out of 1st grade. He is doing well reading words in isolation, but has struggled with reading fluently. I have been certain that he just needs practice, but have yet to be very successful in including reading practice in our day. Instead, we have been quite bogged down by just surviving the end of the school year. Penmanship and spelling words and even family reading was on the schedule, but reading practice was not. Well, praise God that schedule is now fulfilled and no longer in operation!

I thought I might show my yardsale find to G7 and encourage him to read the first story. I was actually expecting it to be a little painful, as each of the stories are about 35 pages long. Plus, these are not the "one sentence per page" picture books. Each page has about a paragraph of text. Nonetheless, to say that I was "pleasantly surprised" by how well he did is an extreme understatement!

He read through the entire story without stopping or complaining. He actually sped through it quite quickly, reading words that I never would have imagined he could read without my help. And best of all, he loved it! After nearly 20 minutes of reading, he actually asked if he could read the next story! I encouraged him to do some of the worksheets first, which he skipped to the table to do and then completed 7 of them.

It is my goal for this upcoming school year to be the year when my children learn to love the written word. How grateful I am that I am already seeing it! Truly God is going before me preparing my children's hearts and minds. I thought about titling this blog "Success is Sweet", but couldn't. The success is not mine. It belongs solely to my seven year old and the One who created him. I have been blessed to be a part of it!

Here is a picture I took of G7 reading his Bible this morning.

Photobucket Image Hosting
Is there any sight sweeter than this?

We have chosen lots of literature rich curriculum this year. My absolute favorite is Beautiful Feet Books' Early American History for primary grades. We bought the entire package which came with 20 books! I love sitting with all my little ones and reading these stories and I love the history notebooks that they are creating!

I'd love to read about how God has given you victory through homeschool trials. If you post about it, be sure to visit BFS and leave your link. Then let me know, so I can read it too!! Pin It Now!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Whale of a Lapbook

G7 is taking a class at co-op using Jeannie Fulbright's Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day. The second chapter of the book discusses whales. We decided to make a lapbook about whales using FREE templates from Homeschool Share. I know...I'm always talking about HSS, but they are an invaluable resource!

This lapbook is pretty small compared to most that we do. I really just wanted him to make a few of the booklets to reinforce what he had learned that week while reading the chapters.

In this petal book, G7 listed how the whales are classified.

When opened, this mini-book tells the different "antics" of whales.

We made these whale cards, with a picture on one side and information about the whale on the back. Then G7 sorted them into "toothed whales" and "baleen" whales.

G7 made a chart to show how long different types of whales were.

Along the same line, we also measured the length of different whales using yarn. We cut the length and labeled each string. The Belunga whale is 15 feet. But the rest of the whales were so large we had to go to the backyard. The longest is the Blue Whale at 80-90 feet. It covered almost the entire width of our backyard...very cool to have this visual.

This is the back of the lapbook. I hole-punched a page protector and the file folder on both sides and attached them using yarn. This way I had a large pouch to keep all of our "whale measurements" in. Pin It Now!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Home, School, and Cub Scout Giveaway!

There are so many things being given away at Learning by Living! You don't want to miss the chance to win some of these great items!!! Pin It Now!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Celebrating another year with E4!

E4 becomes E5 today! I am so blessed to be his Momma. He is bright, brave, funny, and so handsome - who can resist blue eyes and dimples?! Here is glimpse into his fourth year...













Happy Birthday Baby! Mommy and Daddy love you! Pin It Now!


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