Monday, August 30, 2010

New Start: Honorable Character

This week is going to be new - different - we're learning from last week and moving forward, The ugly attitudes and trials from last week were overshadowed by the learning, the fun, the smiles, the giggles, the books read, the time shared... imperfectly together. There is newness in our week forthcoming. I shared with Drew last night that regardless of last week's problems, or even 30 minutes ago, right now we're praying for God's blessing upon this school week - a new start, a new beginning. We're taking what we gleaned from last week and this morning is going to be full of God's mercies. We learned that if hearts, mommy's and the kids, aren't in line with the Lord then we're walking in our own flesh. Our character is being built - one day, one dilemma, one choice at a time.

We're now working on character as our primary goal. As a mother I set the tone for my children. if they eve sense a hint of frustration or business on my part both kiddo's take that as a sign to act out. So this week I'm working on finding the positive, lifting up the praises and encouraging with my words. The chart  to the left I found at Teachmart (thanks mom) and it will help me remember what I'm trying to instill in my kids. A huge part of schooling at home is so I can spend time molding and working on who God wants my children to be. Drew is excited to see a reward system - for each check mark he receives 10 points, extra points can also be earned for extra chores around the house like cleaning the bathroom, moping the floor, etc. Then at the end of each week he takes all his points and can buy various rewards. Here is what we came up with as a family:

          • Donuts with Daddy 300 Points
          • Family Fun Friday  400 Points
          • Field Trip Fun  350 Points
          • Daddy/Mommy Date Night  500 Points
          • New Lego Kit 400 Points
          • Playdate with a friend 300 Points
          • Movie Theater 550 Points
For Gabe, he gets check marks for good character, if he gets 3 or more per day  he can watch a 30 minute show (short term reward) and if he  gets 3 or more for 5  days in a row he gets to go our with Daddy for donuts - his favorite all time favorite thing to do!

We tested it out on Sunday and it worked brilliantly. The character card remind me what I'm looking for in my kids and the boys are also learning what each of the characteristics mean and what I want to see. Drew especially took off with it and was wonderful! Such a change from the week before!

Please pray for our journey this week as we study Apples and read Johnnie Appleseed. We have lots of fun learning planned!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Here are a few pictures in review from our unit study on bubbles. The projects were fun and the boys enjoyed their special time with Daddy learning about dry ice! It was so fun seeing their eyes light up and smiles cover their faces as they discovered new and exciting things.

A Week of Wonder

I survived week #1 of homeschooling. It was a lot of work and fun. I learned a lot, hopefully the kids learned  a lot too. We tweaked out circle time a little, worked a lot on character, a short weekly  memory verse, some catechism's, and read a lot of books. I was sad that we didn't read as many books as I'd have liked, between Abby fussying and Gabe not wanting to sit still or read the book we'd picked it always seemed to end in turmoil. So we're going to move reading time to the front of the circle time agenda and see what that does. This week our unit was Bubbles, we learned all about them and made three recipe's. Then tested them all to see which ones made bigger, stronger, and more colorful bubbles. It was a fun topic for the first week, now we're off and running with Apples! We also hit the park for a fun nature walk and tree climbing expedition.

Drew  enjoyed all the fun learning this week. He wanted to consume everything and wouldn't stop for a minute. I put in a 60 minute rest time in the afternoon for reading books quietly - I thought he would have loved the stuffed pillows, mini fort, soft music and tons of books, but reading wasn't  what he wanted to do. I hope it gets  better next week. I  was hoping to use this time to do some reading myself, I have three books on my list to finish and can't seem to pick even one of them up for more than 5 minutes.

The boys were less that wonderful, we had a lot of  character issues, unkind words, fighting, and obedience struggles. I think they are coming down off that plateau and working through new ideas, new skills and a new routine. So, this week we're implementing a positive character chart with rewards and encouragement. I admit I focused a lot on what was wrong last week, so this week I'm determined to focus on all the good.

Gabe is growing up and going through some stuff. He has been acting moody and winy. He has discovered he has an opinion and wants us all to agree with him. That is a great thing for Gabe since he is very much a follower, but sometime we're just not going to "throw sand all over the backyard," or "give you juice for dinner." In those moments he has been throwing huge fits! He also discovered that he has power, over his big brother especially. Gabe will take things from Drew and then not give them back.  On a positive note, Gabe loved circle time, he loved the running and singing and counting fun. He also loved the bubbles!

I am struggling with the fact that my children are in progress, as my mother so kindly said about her new 1st grade class. I can't and shouldn't expect perfection or even close. I need to expect these disruptions in my  day and use them to build their character and point them to the Lord. So our schedule is being revamped, we're going to do a little less and work more positively on character this week. We're also going to take a trip to the Apple Orchard - assuming they don't sell out! Pray for us this week - pray that I have patience and joy in my step as I lead my  children along this homeschooling journey.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Homeschooling is a Journey

Just as this life is all about the journey, so I believe it will be as we tackle this journey of schooling at home. Today was such fun yet so exhausting. I've  been "playing" school all summer trying to work through the differences between the boys learning styles and how to accommodate an almost 3 and 6 year old at the same time. I planned on not really homeschooling Gabe, just including him in on what we're doing so he doesn't feel left out, but he is so challenged by his older  brother that I think he might be learning just as much as Drew. It is fun to  watch the boys grow towards each other by playing, working things out, and talking to one another. I heard a lot of, "... come on Gabe, lets go...." from Drew today which is such a nice change from arguing!  I love how Drew is very inclusive ... most of the time.

Here is what we did today, in pictures, since I need to get to sleep! We had a great day, looking forward to another day or fun tomorrow! I think I'm more excited than the boys because I have a ton of "living" books we'll be reading over the next few weeks,,,, I just LOVE books!

Tea Time

A cup of tea may temporarily satisfy the palate, but a tea time can satisfy the soul if you take the time to unlock the beauty that is possible there.
~Sally Clarkson, Seasons of a Mother's Heart
We're unlocking beauty today.......

Pray for us on this beautiful & humid August morning - our homeschooling journey is trepidatiously beginning!

The "schedules" have been written, the lap books are ready, the bubble experiment will be made today.  Our candle will be lit to begin our new days beginning, tea is waiting on the breakfast table for excited little boys,  a verse will be memorized, a new song learned, memories will be made today.

Please pray with me: for hearts to be drawn to the Lord, intimacy to take place, little hearts to be shepherded and lives to  be changed. My little boys can turn out to be genius', but if I fail to capture their hearts with a love for Jesus, if I fail to shape godly character, if I fail to entice their imaginations with a love for learning -- then I will have missed the mark I believe God is aiming me towards.

Lord, on this new morning of excitement, I pray you would be present, you would be our strength. May the plans you have for our day supersede the schedule, may my children's minds be attentive and captivated, may their first day lead to another day of excitement to love, learn, and listen. Bless our day, bless our thoughts, and bless our homeschooling.

Love, Momma

It is time to wake the crew!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Abby at 7 Months

I just couldn't resist a photo shoot today - it was very quick but I did capture a few fun pictures of our little girl and her big brothers, I am a little disappointed that I didn't get a great one of all three kids, I really wanted a picture of all of them together for my canvas wall. Maybe I'll try again tomorrow!

Abby has the cutest smile, she also does this thing with her lips that you can see in some of the pictures - she roll her lips into her mouth and just grins at you. Today Abby spent the day rolling all over the floor playing with her toys, she also helped mommy with part 2 of her "Once a Month Meals."  Enjoy these cute pictures, Abby is modeling her dress for her Aunt Julie's Baby  Shower this coming weekend!