Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Friday, May 16, 2014

Another year down...

With the exception of finishing up a few chapters of reading in American History, we have another year of school under our belt.  This makes 6 full years of homeschooling for us, with only 3 more left to go.

Our stack of finished work for this year!
This year has been a pretty good one.  We didn't move during this school year, which has been rare for us.  The girls got to stay in the same co-op for the second year in a row, another first!  Kelsie has been stretching her wings a little and is now a licensed driver who will be headed off to the community college this fall to begin classes.  She will be participating in the dual enrollment program that will allow her to earn college credit while finishing up her senior year of high school. 

Sarah and Miranda have grown a lot as young women this year as well.  They both did extremely well in their first year of high school level classes, and proved that they were more than up to the challenge of starting a year early. 

They have all begun to think, in earnest, about what they would like to do after high school.  This involves a lot of thought and prayer for all of them as they seek out what path God would have them take. 

I have also been thinking a lot more about life after high school.  I have spent a lot of my time the past 6 years doing this homeschool thing.  The great thing is, I've also spent a lot of time adding to my own education.  There are some opportunities for me to continue working in the homeschool world that look promising.  But, as we have learned in the past, we never know what the next 3 years will bring. 

So, if you can spare a prayer, they are always appreciated.  The next few years will continue to be a time of growth and change in our house as these little birds stretch their wings and begin to leave the nest!    

Friday, April 4, 2014

Hello again.

Again, I've found myself neglecting my blog.  It has been a busy few months for us! We have enjoyed some beautiful snow falls.  We haven't seen this much snow in years!

There have been masquerades,

Preparations have been made for a summer of gardening,

We acquired a new cat named Chester,

Spring flowers have begun to bloom,

There have been sword fights,

A visitor has come and gone from Texas,

We have enjoyed occasional nice weather among all the rainy days,

Relaxing on the porch,

Sunshine gifted from friends,

Saying goodbye to neighbors who have a nice new home,

And the promise of more work to be done, 

We've had dog injuries,

And jealous kitty snuggles,

There has been target practice,

And just plain being cute...

We are looking forward to the days to come and the memories they'll bring.  

Sunday, February 23, 2014

I'm Worn

Reflections on Jesus

I began a study on the Life of Christ this morning, and in the process the question came to mind:  What is Jesus Christ to you?  It is a much needed reflection on my part. 

He is my hope.  Without the hope that Jesus has given me, I'm not sure I would be here today.  It isn't the hope of a pain free life, or the hope of happiness here on earth, but rather a hope of better things to come.  He has promised us a life after this one.  A life spent with Him without the pain and anguish of sin and confusion.  It is the promise that no matter what happens in this life, He has a plan. 

He is my redeemer.  There is no way I could ever atone for the things I have done and the thoughts I have had.  My mind is a dark place sometimes, and through the salvation He offered me, I can see a light that leads me out of that darkness.  He took my sins, lifted them off of my shoulders and placed them on His own.  He took my torment, and suffered with it in my stead.  He loved me as I could never love another soul. 

He is my King.  My heart of hearts wants to bow down to no one.  My very soul prickles with the thought of being under someone's authority.  But that same soul needs some authority to reign it in.  My ways are not always good, nor Godly.  His power and majesty puts me in a place I need to be in.  Kneeling at His throne humbles me and reminds me that I am not God.  The knowledge that He is in control comforts my wild heart. 

He is our future.  No matter how this world seems to be spiraling out of control, God has a plan and wins in the end.  I am a worrier and planner by nature.  Reading the Word of God and seeing that Jesus has been working at a plan for all of time is comforting beyond measure.  The chaos that seems to reign in our time is there in His word.  The promise of an end to the madness and the beginning of peace is there too.  Knowing this settles my mind.

He is my Savior.  During the times that I feel like I am drowning in this mire, He is there holding my head above the muck.  He hasn't let me go, even when I kick against Him in my struggle.  His hands are strong and mighty, and nothing in this world can rip me from them. 


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sandbox to Socrates

I have to post a shameless plus here.

For the past several months I have been lucky enough to work with a team of fellow homeschool moms that are launching a Classical Education Blog called Sandbox to Socrates.  This blog has been created to be an inclusive forum for the discussion of Classical Homeschooling from all walks of life.  This blog has been created by homeschooling parents that have a common dedication to education of their children and the desire to share that dedication with the world.  

So go check it out.  Follow us as we begin this grand adventure!

A new semester...

It is January and the second semester of our school year is in full swing.  This is our 6th year homeschooling, and I feel like we have finally gotten into the swing of things.  We are still using all the same curriculum choices that we started the year with, which is a first for us!  It has been a journey to find what works best for each child.

Way back when...our first weeks of homeschooling in 2008

Sarah and Miranda are finishing up their 9th grade year.  Skipping 8th grade and going right into high school work has proven to be a good choice.  They are being challenged by their work, but are still making As.

Kelsie is finishing up her 11th grade year.  As she draws nearer to graduation, her interests have narrowed down some, and she is beginning to think about post-graduation options.  Her schoolwork has also been a great fit for her.  Our decision to NOT skip a grade with her has also proven wise.  This extra year to mature has been good for her and seems to be leaving her a little better prepared emotionally.

So what are we doing, and what is making it work?

All three of the girls are using Notgrass Exploring America for their American history.  It is a high school level curriculum with a lot of source document reading and era appropriate lit.  So far this year the books they have read with history are Uncle Tom's Cabin, Mark Twain's Humorous Stories and Sketches, The Scarlet Letter, Narratives of both David Crockett and Fredrick Douglass, Little Women and Company Aytch.  The surprising hit was Uncle Tom's Cabin.  After reading it, they also wanted to see a movie.  Unfortunately they are hard to come by.  They felt touched by the plight of the slaves in the book.

Their Language Arts is coming in under their history curriculum also.  Notgrass assigns weekly writing assignments that range from book reports to multi-page essays.  I have been pleased with the difficulty level of these assignments, and the requirement of the student to think about the subject.   Sarah and Miranda also have daily exercises in an Easy Grammar workbook to keep their grammar skill sharp.  Kelsie did a good portion of Analytical Grammar, just because she wanted to.  As her other courses have picked up the pace, she has put it aside.

Sarah and Miranda are using Jacob's Elementary Algebra this year and it is going very well.  You can read my review of it soon on the Sandbox to Socrates blog.  Kelsie has been using Teaching Textbooks Algebra 2.  This has proven to be such a good fit for her.  She likes how the lessons are presented and enjoys doing the work on her computer.

Kelsie has been using Apologia's Chemistry for science this year.  The labs we have been doing with a friend at their home, although I have admittedly been slacking off on that since the arctic air has settled in.  She is progressing steadily and has actually enjoyed learning about some of the topics.  The younger two are taking Biology I at co-op.  This class has a higher difficulty level than I was expecting, which is a good thing.  They are learning a lot, and making great grades.

Foreign Language has also been handled at co-op this year.  Kelsie and Sarah have been enjoying their Latin I class.  They use Wheelock's Latin, and have learned so much.  Miranda is taking Spanish I, and in spite of the leaving of a teacher and a round of subs she seems to be doing well.  The new permanent teacher is a native Spanish speaker and seems to be a good fit.

All three girls are enjoying the various electives they have been taking at co-op and have made some good friendships.  They have also been able to go to some dances and other activities with the friends they have made.

The girls now...almost grown!
Although we still have several months left in the school year, it feels like we are on the downhill side now.