Homeschooling - Spring 2014 Update


Homeschooling this year has been quite a challenge. 

My 10-year-old daughter is in 5th grade. 
My 6-year-old son is in Kindergarten.

Our 5th grade curriculum has been Sonlight, which we love for its strong emphasis on great literature. I am thankful that my daughter is old enough to work independently, as she's been expected to do so much more this year. This year's focus has been on the Eastern Hemisphere - it hasn't been our favorite focus of the ones we've studied this far, but we have learned new things through it.

We have just used a hodge-podge of workbooks with my son for Kindergarten. I am working through "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" with him. He's nearing the end and is catching on well now. Teaching a child to read is an incredibly gratifying feeling! Once they know how to read, the entire world is open to them. 

We took a maternity break when our baby girl was born in December. We kept up on some of our basic reading together, but that was about all. Over the months, though, we've added more back in and are doing full-on school again these days. We will probably finish in June - later than we normally finish, but still acceptable considering the kind of year we've had. 

We participated in our wonderful local homeschool co-op again this year - Home Grown Hearts. We love this group so much! About 50 other local families, about 150-200 children. I hung out in the nursery most of the time and connected with other moms in this same stage of life. My 5th grader enjoyed classes like Lego Challenge, Women of the Bible, Flying Creatures (from Apologia Science) and Orienteering (similar to map-reading, scavenger hunting). My Kindergartener enjoyed these classes: Under the Sea, Tree Study, Schoolyard Games, and Drawing. Our co-op has a strong focus on worship and prayer and scripture memory. We enjoy it immensely and I'm glad we didn't take the semester off (as I'd considered, due to new baby). It was a joy to be a part of another semester with our friends. 

My husband was able to take the kids on a few fieldtrips this spring. They headed to a nearby county park for a lesson on maple tree tapping for syrup. He took my eldest to the local historical museum for a 3-hour discussion on the Civil War. And they have a field trip planned to visit Fair Oaks Farm next month. 

So it hasn't been a typical school year for us, but it has still been a good one. We're growing. We're learning. We're reading great books that challenge our thinking and teach us about people of other times and places. 

I am so thankful for the flexibility to homeschool. Through life's changes, through new babies, through all seasons of life, we are learning and growing together. I love that! 

Up Close and Personal


 It's been a long time since I've had time to write. 
Life is just speeding along. 

Recently I realized just how many changes our family has gone through in the last 6 months. Pregnancy, childbirth and life with a newborn. My husband's unexpected layoff and then start of a new job. I quit my job working part-time as our church secretary (too much to juggle on top of life with baby). Financial pressures related to the job changes, insurance changes, reduced hours, etc.

Looking at that list makes me wonder how I am still sane (or am I?) 

I always say that having a baby reduces life to its very basics - trying to shower once a day, trying to eat regular meals, trying to sleep. That's what I call a good day, as a mother to a newborn! 

I did struggle with post-partum depression again this time around. Not a surprise, as I've battled this with each pregnancy, including my miscarriages. Thankfully, it was short-lived this time around and I am glad to be off any medications for the depression. 

On top of the other stresses of life, or maybe it's because of them, I know God is growing me. I can see changes in my life, for which I'm super thankful. I have become more patient. I have more joy and praise is more at home on my lips. Since I have a 10-year-old, a 6-year-old and now a baby, I can clearly see how I have parenting each child differently. I am a better parent each chance I get :-) We're always learning and growing, aren't we? 

I am learning to trust God more, especially when I can't see the outcome. In a number of situations in my life currently, there is stress and unknowns. I am thankful that I don't have to know how these situations will turn out. I don't have to have answers. I can trust God. I can have faith that He is at work in others' lives just as He is at work in mine. He will bring about ultimate good. 

So there's a more personal update to answer those who wonder how I am doing. 

I choose joy. I choose life. I choose peace. I choose thankfulness and praise to the Lord my God!

Baby is 4 Months Old


Four months have passed already. Baby girl is smiling and laughing. She's sleeping well at night now, waking just once around 2 am. She loves to be near Daddy and to watch whatever the older children are doing. 

She loves her exersaucer and can manipulate some of its toys with her hands. 

At her 4-month well-child visit she weighed 14 pounds 7 ounces - a gain of over 2 pounds in one month's time. Yeah! 

She is generally a happy baby. She loves mama the best but is starting to enjoy spending time with others too. What a delight to have a baby in the house again!