Category Archives: Homeschooling

State Bound!

Road trip ahead…just twenty-four hours ’til take off!  The Lady Titans and their families will be headed to “State”, in a matter of hours, with a third overall ranking.  It is the Texas State Homeschool Basketball Championships drawing us to the Metroplex

Don’t let the “homeschool” part throw you.  This tournament is not for the faint of heart.  The number one team at last year’s tournament had so many Division 1 college scouts attending the final game that fans were hard pressed to find a seat (slight exaggeration, but you get the picture).  This same number one Texas team also took home the National Championship trophy, last March, at the National Homeschool Basketball Championship in Springfield, MO (the largest athletic tournament in the U.S., with over 300 teams competing at all levels). 

All that to say…heading into this tournament, ranked third, is a pretty big deal-e-o for this little team from a mid-sized Texas town!  Top teams typically represent the larger cities.  Houston dominated for years, but it’s been a team from the Arlington/Ft. Worth area that has been taking all the kudos as of late.   Austin also brings in tough competition (ranked second this year), as well as others from the DFW Metroplex and  Houston area. 

There is a tough road ahead for the Lady Titans and it won’t be easy.  To make it to the coveted Championship game, these girls will have to fight their way through three games, two of which are against a Dallas team (also in top ten) and Austin (number two)…not for the faint of heart!  Way to go Lady Titans to even be in this position!  Big deal.  Really big deal.      

Did anyone see the Daytona 500 last weekend?  20-year-old, Trevor Bayne and his team won it, one day after his twentieth birthday.  It was only his second cup race (whatever that means) and HE WON!  Talk about a Cinderella story!  And the best part was that he gave God the glory.  He said (as best as I can remember it…not exact quote, but close), “We prayed before the race…we pray a lot…it just goes to show what God can do.”  Does that make you want to jump up and shout “Hallelujah” or what?! 

Only God knows what this little tournament in Texas holds.  There are three things of which we can count on:  1. He will be there, pouring out His grace on all His children, 2. He cares about the simplest of things and this is yet another of His gifts, so many gifts, and 3.  The Lady Titans can hold their heads high and thank Him, already.  No matter the outcome of this tournament, they have already been blessed to go into it, not only in the top ten, but in the top three!  

Go get ’em Lady Titans!  Have fun!   

And give God the Glory…No. Matter. What.

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Snow Day!

Time flies.  Time stands still.  Both true.  Both false. 

Days passed at a crawl the week before our vacation.  Our week at the shore, however, was mere minutes.   Both were seven days.  Time stands still; time flies…or so it seems.

The reality is that the Creator of the Universe “changes time and seasons”  (Daniel 2:21), therefore we can be sure time is constant, consistent.  He gives us the exact same number of minutes every single day, without fail. 

Time is *flying* in my life right now.  Children are changing almost daily,  little girls have morphed into young ladies, mere babes threatening to graduate and go to college, and the firstborn keeps flitting in and out of the nest between semesters.  Meanwhile, we are going to basketball games, piano practice, recitals, basketball games, shopping for bigger shoes, parent meetings, home group, basketball games, shopping for longer jeans, having friends over, and going to basketball games.   Can it be, that in the midst of it all, I’m missing out on something? 

Getting to class on this icy day was not a hazard for us; it’s just down the  hall and through the doorway on the right.  But we took a *snow day* anyway.  We (I) need to slow down.  Sit.  Breathe.  Enjoy. 

This snow was the perfect reminder to be still, to appreciate the time He has given me today,  to take in these little chickadees.  

   

I love snow days.  I loved this day.

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Miracles never cease…

We did art today!Kids Fall Painting 004

I came across this art blog and I LOVE it Here is the project we did today.   I chose this project for three reasons.  First and foremost, it didn’t intimidate me.  That’s huge.  Art intimidates me.  Second, I had all the supplies for it…watercolor paper, watercolors, brushes.  Third, it was a fall-ish projet and fall is in the air.   It’s not my favorite fall project from the site, but it didn’t intimidate me and I had all the stuff.

tree1tree3tree2

We went outside to observe trees, noting how their trunks and limbs and branches grow.  I wish I hadn’t made the Little Miss cry.  I didn’t mean to hurt her feelings, but I managed anyway.  She went to her bed to “get it all out” and when she returned to join the gang, everyone was ahead of her on their painting.  That just nearly set her off again, but I managed to get her through it without having to send her back to her bed.  Things began rocking along the way I’m sure Charlotte Mason would have it and I was just beginning to feel successful as a motherThen I noticed Little Mister’s painting.  Either he didn’t pay attention when we were outside noting how the branches on the trees grow UP or he just couldn’t get what that meant.  Either way,  humility returned to me,  it’s rightful owner, as it always faithfully does.   Once again, I found myself in parental doubt.  What’s the best way to handle this?  Do I just let the boy be creative and make his his tree the way he wants…this is ART afterall and I don’t want to injure yet more feelings, heaven forbid.  On the other hand, one of the main points of the lesson was to note creation and how it really looks and grows, trying to make a more realistic drawing, avoiding the stereotypical straight tree trunk, etc. and to follow directions.   I made him start over.  Yikes.  Did I squelch his creativity?  Or worse, his spirit?  I watched as he began again and it was better, but he still didn’t do it “right”.  This time it seemed more about fine motor skills than paying attention or following directions.  I held my tongue.   I love his tree, by the way.  It means so many things to me.     Kids Fall Painting 003I covered the farm table with a vinyl table cloth first and then decided that would be messy if when the water spilled, so I covered that with a sheet.  Probably overkill for a little painting with watercolors, but it worked.  

We pulled up the project on the website we were using and kept it open on the table.  It walked us through step by step.   (That’s my painting on the easel back there, by the way.  Yes, I actually demonstrated while they watched.  It was very PBS Painting Show-ish, I’m sure.)

Kids Fall Painting 008

The  procrastianator is reforming!  We actually did art today.  It was a baby step, I know.  And it’s often one step forward,two steps back.  It was a step, however, and I’m counting it! 

Kids Fall Painting 017

Can you guess which tree belongs to the Little Mister?  I do love that tree…and that boy!

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We started anyway!

Well, Labor Day weekend was too short, as it turns out.

We did get several things crossed off the list, but there’s still plenty to be done

But we started school, anyway!  That is really huge for me.   

I am such a perfectionist…not the vacume cleaner marks in the carpet and exactly 1.5 inches between every hanger in the closet kind of perfectionist, but the kind that has unrealistic expectations about how everything needs to be.  I have “eyes that see” and I’m forever beckoning my offspring to have the same.   In this, we simply amaze one another.   They are utterly amazed that I can walk through the family room and detect a string on the floor, peeking out from under the sofa.  I, on the other hand, am utterly amazed that they can walk through the same room, STEP ON a dirty pair of socks on the floor, and when asked to pick them up, say,”…what socks?”.  Amazing.    

balance somewhere between us is the goal…”Maybe I can overlook the string on the floor beneath the sofa, dear Offspring,  if you can please, at least acknowledge the socks you just stepped on”.

I have a really hard time being productive or accomplishing things if I feel unorganized.  I’ve come a long way since the days when I couldn’t even do laundry if the house wasn’t tidy.  With five kids and homeschooling, keeping the house tidy can sometimes be challenging…can you see the problem?  Thanks to Flylady, my laundry is no longer out of control, a bit behind at times, but never out of control. 

Now, like I said, we started school even though we weren’t  “ready” and that  really is huge for me.   I usually exhaust myself in the weeks before we begin a new homeschool year, making sure I have the perfect schedule (that I never stick to) and everything is in perfect order (which never stays that way) and then we have all the build up and anticipation the weekend before.  Then I fall into bed, too late, the night before our first day.   I would never EVER dream of starting school if I weren’t “done” with all that prep.  But even with all the preparation, I still would almost always be disillusioned at the end of our first week.   

This year was different.  It wasn’t the picture perfect start that I always hope for and never attain, but it was just fine.  It’s OK that it wasn’t a dynamic or remarkable start to a new year.  It’s OK because I didn’t have visions of grandeur about our first week of school.   We just got started.  We got some stuff done.  I want to be more organized.  I intend to have more routine.  I hope to get more done.  I’d like to have more fun.   But it’s a process.  A journey.

Lord, help us to enjoy the journey together!  Amen.

 Well, I can’t wait to post some “after” pics…even though I didn’t think to take any “before” photos.  I’m still looking forward to posting some shots of what we got done. 

Hopefully soon!

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We are not ready for school to start…

Tanner to Concordia + Lambs Come 2009 059…on Tuesday, the day after Labor Day…aack!  Today is Friday.  That means I have the weekend, essentially, plus one day.  

The firstborn has already started classes at his university in another town.  He will miss all the excitement.

The eldest teen that is still a student in our homeschool is ready because she isn’t related to me.   That’s not true.  I birthed her, but sometimes I wonder where she came from because she is self governed, self disciplined, loves the schedule and loves setting and reaching goals.  I, on the other hand, love making schedules.  Turning those schedules into routines…not so much.  I love setting goals.  Disciplining myself to reach those goals…not so much. 

The teenaged middle child isn’t ready because she doesn’t like to do school work.  I have hopes of making it more enjoyable for her this year, but I don’t really have a plan for that.  She also isn’t ready because her room is in complete disarray. 

I am not ready because I have the house in an upheavel.  Remember the nine square shuffle?  It’s time to get set and get ready.  I also don’t have my school plans together or the schedule made.  And I need to redo our chore system because it fell apart over the summer. 

That is what Labor Day weekend holds for me.  I do this every year.  I have labor to do on Labor Day weekend.  Hopefully I will have more foresight next year and actually relax and enjoy the day if not the whole weekend.  

This year, we (thank God for the Captain) will chip away at the list, get as far as we can, and keep working on it as time permits.  “It doesn’t have to be perfect, just keep moving forward”, I will keep saying to myself , all weekend, if I know me…and I do!

The List:

Get Wills room homey–lamp, chest, bulletin board or inspiration wire

-Finish up Discovery Room–inspiration wire, maps, calendar, make chalk board, paint toy chest, 

paint chairs (I found two really cute chairs for the littles’ desk areas at an estate sale)

 –Reorganize school cabinets and book shelves

– Think about schooling method/philosophy for middle baby…PRAY!

Rearrange teens bedroom and make it homey for another school year until there is time, money and energy to redecorate

Make schedule for new school year

Rework chore system

Look over school materials, get plan in place for beginning on Tuesday.  PRAY!!!

Is my procrastination showing?  Yes.  I know!  Blast!!

Post Script:  Yea!  So many things marked off the list.  I’m still not sure about schooling philosophy for that middle child, but I didn’t mark off  “pray”, so I’ll keep that up.  In the mean time, I’ll just keep on keeping on.  The discovery room is not as awesome as I had origianally envisioned, but it’s alright.  I know some people would just be so grateful to have that space.  I think I’ve lost my enthusiasm about it.  I need another push.

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Filed under Homeschooling, Life as We Know It!, Unbosomings