Sunday, August 17, 2014

Thoughts on Homeschooling Last Year

I can hardly believe that we've already finished two whole years of homeschool, and that we are about to start our third year in this crazy adventure.

I really thought by this point I'd at least have a little bit of wisdom to offer, and that I wouldn't still be such a major curriculum junkie. Or at the very least, that I'd have a good routine for it down.

Unfortunately, though, I can't really say that I have accomplished any of those things. As much as I believe that our family has been called to homeschool, and as much as I love the idea of being with my kids and learning along side them day in day and day out, I'll admit that it doesn't always come very naturally to me.

However, I will say that this past year of homeschooling was much(MUCH) better than the previous. Apparently being new to an area and having a baby in the middle of the school year can be stressful(who knew?)

This past year we used My Father's World for both first grade and kindergarten, and then we supplemented in the spring semester with classical conversations. I can't say enough about how much I love both of these programs. And more importantly, Jack and Anna both really loved them.

Classical Conversations is great because you get to be around other homeschooling families, and your kids get to be around other kids their own age. It also takes care of the science experiments and crafty stuff that I might not always make enough time for at home.

My Father's World turned out to be exactly what I had been looking for at the beginning of last year. I really felt like I needed something that would tell me what to do every day, and that's exactly what MFW does. It also gives a lot of cute ideas for crafts(which is not my area of expertise) and provides some wonderful book choices.

Most importantly, though, it's very Bible centered. And not only is it Bible centered, but they make  it so that the kids really enjoy learning about the Bible. Every day this past year, Jack had a Bible and a Bible notebook that he wrote in, and he never complained about it, in fact he really enjoyed doing it. He tells everyone that the Bible is his favorite book. :)

My main struggles with homeschooling this past year was keeping the younger kids entertained while we did school(there were many days I'd give up trying to keep Lily and Max entertained, and tell them to go play in the kitchen sink until we were done), and sticking to a routine. Some weeks we'd do great sticking to one, and other weeks...we... wouldn't do so great.

I'm really looking forward to starting school again, though. We've had a nice break this summer, but now I'm ready to get back into it. And, of course, the break has been long enough that I keep envisioning perfectly beautiful school days with Max and Luke sitting quietly on their blankets playing with their special toys while I patiently teach a math lesson to the older kids(ha!)

Maybe it would be more realistic to do school during the little boys nap time? However, if that vision ever becomes a reality, I'll be sure to let you know and share all my secrets. :)

Linked to the Modest Mom.

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Birthdays Week

Last week is known as "birthdays" week around here. My birthday was on the 24th(I turned 29, in case you were wondering) and Jack's, gulp, seventh birthday was on the 25th.

Seven seems way too big in my opinion. Wasn't he just turning 4, like, yesterday?

For my birthday, I took the kids to the park and picked up my free Starbucks drink that they give you on your birthday. The kids were so sweet, trying to make sure I had a good day. They kept telling me they were going to throw me a Duggar and shopping birthday party since I like those things so much(ha!) Jack kept telling me,"Mama, you should really go shopping today! Don't worry we will go with you!"

And as much fun as it sounded taking my five crazies to a shopping center, we opted to just go to the park instead. :)

They kept bringing me flowers, and exclaiming,"Happy birthday, Mama!" Then when Erik got home, we dropped Jack, Anna, and Lily off at Vacation Bible School, and took Luke and Max with us out to dinner.

By the time we got everyone home from VBS and settled into bed, it was after 10, and I still had to decorate the house and bake cupcakes for Jack's birthday the next day. 

Jack loves all things baseball, especially anything to do with the Cardinals, so I attempted to make these cupcakes look like baseballs. I am so NOT a cake decorator, but with Erik's help, I think they (finally) started to look right. 

My original plan for these balloons was to make them look like baseballs, but that idea sort of flopped. Instead, we just blew up the package of balloons and then wrote on each one something we loved about Jack. Even though I definitely didn't think of it until the last minute, I have to say that this is my new favorite birthday tradition.

We met up with some of our good friends at the Science center, and then took a picnic out to a nearby park to celebrate the birthday boy. Anna really loved this skeleton at the Science center. :)

Such a sweet group of kids. :)

Happy 7th birthday, Jack! Your love for the Lord has really shown through this last year, and your kind and sweet heart makes being your Mom an absolute delight. I pray that your love for Jesus will only grow with each year, and that you'll always keep your joyful personality.

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