Thursday, March 31, 2011

School Time in Pictures

The boys made Roxaboxen and had to come up with transportation and money for their new town. Abby played along too! It was her  favorite unit study yet!
I manage struggle to get Drew to focus  2x a day for 20 minutes  - the rest of the day is for learning through play!
Studying the Life Cycle of the Hummingbird Hawk Moth.
We also have caterpillars that will change into Butterfly's. We're going to compare and contrast butterfly's to moths!
Nana got out all her tapes and Drew enjoyed many hours listening to all of the songs and books on tape!
Learning about weight and balance.
Daddy made a teeter totter and taught them about balance and force!
Abby has  been getting in on our Science Museum trips!
Learning about pirates? No, just working on Drew's lazy eye.  Thanks to Papa Tractor, Drew is sporting a new camo patch!
Spent a few mornings at the Science Museum!
We've been learning about the Venus Fly Trap - looks appetizing doesn't it!
Gabe has been working on fine motor skills like beading - Kitty wasn't too impressed with his skill!



Max was a little more impressed!    

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Home Learning: What I've Learned

Homeschooling has been an adventure! It was NOTHING like I had imagined, yet our  family has grown closer in ways I never dreamed were possible. Our days have become a routine of integrating learning into everyday life. Here are some lessons I've learned during our first  three quarters of home learning:


  • Schedules are great for telling you what to do when you can't remember, but life rarely goes by what is on the agenda! 
  • Don't take myself so seriously
  • Have fun learning, you'll be amazed at  how much you've retained.
  • Homeschooling has taught me way more than it has taught my children.
  • Closeness within our family is more important than anything I could teach, it is within that closeness that learning develops and lasts - like learning how to solve conflict, learning how to say "I'm sorry please forgive me!"
  • When you homeschool, your children are always there -embrace it! 
  • Set aside 1-2 hours when everyone is quiet!
  • Don't compare teaching styles, curriculum, schedules, to most homeschoolers, unless you want to feel bad!  God gave you your children for a reason and it isn't to make them conform to what everyone else looks like.
  • Stop and smell the roses, your children actually appreciate them since they know all about photosynthesis.
  • Don't try to bring the public school model into the home - I'm really bad at this since public school is all I know.
  • Most homeschool children are outside the box - outside the box is good!
  • I'm more addicted to  childrens books now than ever before - that is dangerous, I only have so much space!
  • Homeschooling breeds sibling rivalry & revelry - time, arguments, & the boisterous merriment of play develops long lasting friendships. It has  been so amazing to watch the kids care and play together this year. I can't believe two boys would be so in love with their sister that they would include her in their imaginative play!
  • Working from home while homeschooling is not for the faint at heart!
  • A homeschooling support group is a must!
  • Homeschooling makes for very long days that always end in exhaustion!
  • Learning at home breeds children who are constantly asking "Why" and never satisfied with a quick answer - Google has becomes a common word in our home!
  • Homeschooling brings out the best and worst of mothering.
  • Daily time with the Lord before the kids wake is the only way I've found to have a great, productive day. 
  • God's mercies are new every morning, just because yesterday seemed like a failure, doesn't mean today will be. Most days I feel like nothing was learned, then I sit down and recall all that we did and I am amazed at all the knowledge woven into our conversations and outings.

I've heard the first year is always the hardest, so I guess we'll give year #2 a try and see how it goes!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Seeing God in Gifts and Photography

"See that I am God. 
See that I am in everything. 
See that I do everything. 
See that I have never stopped ordering my works, 
nor ever shall, eternally. 
See that I lead everything on to the conclusion I ordained for it,
before time began, 
by the same power, wisdom and love with which I made it. 
How can something be amiss?" 

~ Julian of Norwich ~

 836. Spring is finally here, the flowers and weeds are blossoming and that means lots of time outside in the evenings playing as a family. It also means lots of vitamin D, less messes inside the house, long bike rides and fun with water!
 837. A sister & brother moment captured in a JPEG. Little girls just soften little boys, I didn't grow up with a brother so when I see my boys enamored by their little sister, it makes stop and thank the Lord for sending us the blessing of both genders. They are so different, yet complement each other so remarkable well.
 838. Little girl smile, rarely seen for some three weeks as she battled with pneumonia. Now that she is feeling better her smiles and jabbers are back in full force! I missed those smiles!
 839. Little boy anticipating cup cake decorating! A cute green apron to get messy!
 840. CUPCAKES ~ Who doesn't love a beautifully decorated cupcake, enjoyed on a warm morning, along with a cup of coffee!
841. Green polka-dotted dress, passed off by a dear friend who also brought 6 boxes of girly 12-24 month clothes for Miss Abby. We are blessed!
 842. A photo snapped at the perfect moment!
 843. Seeing God's love for mankind through the eyes of my daughter as she giggles and laughs on the swings. I am especially thankful for an evening out with family, enjoying a picnic, a park, and pictures!
 844. Making memories with Papa Tractor!
 845. A boy and his dog!
 846. Little girl learning the art of balance and  walking, what a blessing she has two big brothers to help her when she is down.
 847. A father and his sons, I am married to a wonderful man who loves to spend all his waking hours providing and spending time with his children and wife. My sweet John - you make even the mundane a sweet adventure waiting to be explored  - from home made teeter-totter to Venus Fly Traps which include evening bug hunts!
 848. Special moments at the park with a special grandpa who flew all the way from Oregon to bless us with his time. Time is precious and certainly an investment - Papa Tractor made lots of investments this week! We had such a wonderful time together basking in being Williams!
849. A mother who lives a short walk away and loves to have her grandchildren spend the night!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sequencing

 First
 Second
Third

No Children Were Injured In the Photographing of these pictures.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Has Sprung

Forcing the boys to hug after some not so nice attitudes towards each other!

Spring Clothes means Spring pictures in the garden!









Thursday, March 17, 2011

Family Time Sunday

After church on Sunday we had our first Family Sabbath - inspired by the Sally Clarkson conference I went to last month. It was a wonderful time together - instead of cleaning up the messy house, I overlooked the chaos and "civilized the home" with tea and scones and what Charlotte Mason would call a "living book."

We read Teddy's Button and ate scones and drank our tea. It was wonderful! Gabe & Abby lasted about 30 minutes and then headed off to nap-land, but Drew was all ears! The book took a little over and hour to read, plus time to answer some deep Drew questions. Teddy's Button is a great book to read  to boys 5 and older. The book feeds on little  boys desires for adventure and addresses the fact that we are our own worst enemy. Teddy even names his fleshly self and the book shows how he wrestles with making good and bad choices and that just because we make good choices it doesn't mean situations will work out the way we would like. Teddy's Button also gives the child the  gospel in language appropriate for little ears. It is a beautifully simplistic book that answers the question of "how do I love my neighbor?" especially when I don't like them!  Through this charming story, Amy LeFeuvre helps children  and adults to comprehend that they are in a spiritual battle; this battle can begin with  a child like faith and a deep desire to obey - even when it costs us our most prized possession.  Drew especially liked the fact that the author related the spiritual battle within to a real war that has two sides - good and evil. He loved the battle scene where the two children won't yield to the other and they end up falling in the lake! The illustrations in this book are captivating and beautifully painted. The child longs for the page to  be turned so they can see what Teddy is going to do next.  Teddy wrestles a lot with pride and lying  and the illustrations appropriately bring to life those attitudes that rage within us all!It is very laughable when our attitudes are captured on canvas, yet they bring us all back to a time when we acted unbecoming and we had to make it right. Teddy's Button is a must read - we purchased our copy from Lamplighter Publishing - a Christian publishing company that brings back to life antiquated Christian books. Their books provide our children with hero's who  wrestling with morality, character, and faith.

After our Family Sabbath of reading and scones, Drew and Daddy rested together on the couch and I enjoyed some sweet time alone to myself before we headed back to church for our team meeting. It was the perfect non-media day!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

818. Chasing butterflies with my boys.

819. Fresh mulch in my flower beds, sore muscles from lifting & pouring  all those  bags.

820. Weekend To Remember 2011 - wonderful speakers, wonderful friends and family to enjoy the marriage  checkup with. We did miss our friends the Tyson's this year though.

821. Grateful for my husband who shares the gospel with others in a non=threatening way. I just love how he uses our marriage as a platform to build upon God's power in the lives of those who love Him.

822. Our wonderful team of couples at church, I just love all of them and their openness to share their stresses, struggles, and sins.

823. Little  boy learning how to follow through on tasks, the sweet words of "yes mam," and the many reminders to focus on the task.

824. A little boy and his dog, Drew and Max have fallen in love and it is so sweet to see the hugs and concern Drew is giving to his little dog.

825. 29 books for $2.90 at the Community Store House, the deals I brought home will bless our home for many years to come.

826. Spring has arrived in North Texas, the Bradford Pear tree is in bloom and the bulbs are singing God's beauty each morning as I look out the windows.

827. Energetic boys who keep me on my toes and on my knees.

828. Whispering truth to my little girl as she drifts off to sleep in my lap.

829. Visit from family from Oregon, we had such a relaxing and delightful time with Grandma Patti, Aunt Kessa and Uncle David. We can't wait to visit with them again in June when we are blessed to be heading to Colorado for a family get together.

830. Nature walk over  bridges and to the pond where we learned about ducks,

831. Watching the ducks play "tag!"

832 Baby giggles when being tickled.

833. Fajita lunch with my family, good conversation and a nice nap after!

834. Listening to the boys sing Chris Tomlin's songs over lunch.

835. Cleaned out shed that can now hold the lawn mower. Thank you Grandma Patti!