Back To School Traditions

SchoolYear2015Another year, and the kids have grown yet again this summer!  This year we have a Middle School Student (6th grade), a 4th Grader, and a 1st Grader.  With many things on the horizon to look forward to this year, it’s the first day traditions that get us excited when we return each September.

We start our morning taking pictures in the yard.  Then, we begin as we do every school day with prayer and the pledge to the American Flag and Christian Flag.  A majority of our first school week isn’t necessarily on lessons, but testing to see what the kids have retained from the previous year.  I was excited to see our 1st Grader ace his first Spelling pre-test with great penmanship.

Homeschool

We finish our first day with a the kids’ choice for lunch or dinner.  This year, it was Fuddruckers for lunch!  Why Fuddruckers?  Well, occasionally throughout the school year, we like to meet my husband for lunch during the day.  And typically, this is the place we end up.  It has become our “spot”.  So naturally, since their daddy was able to join us on the First Day, this was the kids’ choice!

Fuddruckers

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As I reflect on this day, and the beginning of another school year, I am reminded and encouraged by so many wise words that I’ve heard and read this past week.  The affirmation through Christ is the fuel and steady reminder for this homeschooling mom.

In preparing for another school year with Classical Conversations I re-read:

The classical model that we use as a guiding principal is usually credited to the ancient Greeks, but references to this style of learning can be found in the Old Testament, which leads us to believe that God created us to learn this way.

In the book of Proverbs, you’ll notice three words are repeated often: knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, which correspond to what the ancients called grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric:

Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
—Proverbs 24:3-6 (NKJV)

The classical model could therefore be called the Christian Model because it uses this blueprint for learning. Once educators try it, they realize that it is like “teaching with the grain”: simply put, it suits our nature.”

This verse was repeated during Sunday service at our church.  And I felt a reassurance yet again that even though we are not educating our children in the same manner as many, we are choosing to make our primary emphasis on teaching that which is eternal.  As our pastor, Chris Brown, says, “We have to focus more on GOD, than MVP, or GPA.”  While I most definitely relate to putting importance on academia and sports interests, I can appreciate the exhortation to keep Christ the center.  “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33

BacktoSchool2015Our 3 Blessings!

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” 3 John 1:4

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Blessings!

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#ownyourlifebook – Sally Clarkson

OwnYourLifeBook

     I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions, and if you remember from a previous post that I consider the day after Labor Day my “new year”, but I don’t shy away from reflecting, renewing, and re-examining where I currently am in life.  Especially when I’m struggling to get back into routine from a wonderful Christmas Break, I appreciate the encouragement and inspiration to be purposeful in my living!

     Which brings me to the timely manner in which my Mom Heart group is beginning our next book study by Sally Clarkson, Own Your Life.  This book, as many of Sally’s books, is a form of mentorship to me.  In reading the wisdom so carefully worded for moms like me, Sally has led me to hear God’s voice and put into action the convictions placed on my heart.  In just the first few pages of reading, I am compelled to share the impact it has already made for me in 2015.

OwnYourLifebySallyClarkson

     If you are following along with me on Instagram, you may already know that my word for 2015 is BALANCE and the reasoning behind it.  So in keeping with this vision, and receiving affirmation in reading this book, I am driven to seek the Lord fervently in guiding my priorities.

2015

     I will own my life by leaving my priorities to God, trusting and following His lead to reveal the intent of my time…and then actually doing it!  It will be Him who sets my time/schedule for what is intended; praying that I have the self-control to follow through.

     After 4 years of reading books by Sally Clarkson and attending the Mom Heart Conferences, I can confidently encourage you to pick up Own Your Life and visit her blog at http://www.sallyclarkson.com.  Be inspired to #ownyourlife and share how you will in the comments below.  Let’s lift each other up in prayer as we all seek our best in 2015!!

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Blessings!

Smith Ranch – An American Revolution Adventure

HastyPudding

This morning we had Hasty Pudding for breakfast!  Why do you ask?  It was the influence of a wonderful field trip we experienced this past Wednesday.

SmithRanch

 

I just love it when we can apply what we are learning to a hands-on experience.  Our recent field trip to Smith Ranch was perfect for what we are studying this year in Cycle 3 of Classical Conversations.

SmithRanch1We were greeted by Mr. & Mrs. Smith and their son.  They gave an overview of the Revolutionary time, with instructions for the children in responding respectfully to directions, “Yes, Sir.”  The group was assigned to a Company.  We were Company A…and the flag bearer was selected to lead us to each historical station.  My daughter was elated to be picked!  She sure was glad to be wearing her costume that day.

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SmithRanch2The first stop, musket training.

SmithRanch3Next, learning how to make George Washington’s favorite breakfast: Hasty Pudding

Recipe: 1 part Corn Meal to 4 parts boiling water (add salt, butter, and honey to taste)

SmithRanchboy

All the children really enjoyed this and asked for seconds!  My kids couldn’t wait to make it on their own at home.

SmithRanchboy1The next stop was crossing the frozen Allegheny River

SmithRanch4We then raised the flag at Fort Daniel Boone

SmithRanch5

SmithRanch12We discussed the Declaration of Independence, and then signed our own family documents declaring our freedom using quill and ink.

SmithRanchgirlAfter breaking for lunch, we rode the “Franklin Express”

SmithRanch6Where we saw this flying, and learned the brief history behind this flag.

SmithRanchgirl1We served on the USS “Patriot” and learned about the ship’s cannon

SmithRanchgirl2The children then danced the Virginia Reel

SmithRanch7

The dancing quickly ended because we had to defend and recapture Fort Daniel Boone!  As a result, there were wounded soldiers to bandage.

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All in all, it was a wonderful trip and a great experience for everyone!  Our History and Faith go hand in hand, and appreciate the heritage of our great Nation!!  I would highly recommend visiting, and hope to go back for another American History Adventure!

Thank you Smith Ranch!!

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SmithRanch9

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Blessings!

Happy New (School) Year!

FirstDayofSchool2014With a new school year beginning, I feel that it’s truly my “New Year.”  Not January 1st, but the day after Labor Day.  On Labor Day we celebrate the end of summer, and gear up for another year of school, activities, and new routines.  We reassess our previous year, recommit to the new year, make small changes, and resolve to do better, be more organized, or take on more/less.  As I see my children growing and learning each year, I am thankful to be a large part in this portion of their life.  And I admit, it is tempting to wonder what my life would be like if I wasn’t a homeschooling mom…I mean, I did have a taste when my oldest was attending private school.  But, I had two other kiddos with me at home.  Still, I fully believe and know this is what I need to do; it is the place the Lord has led and confirmed.  I trust His will and obey, for He is good and His promises endure forever.  I have been blessed with a now 5th Grader, 3rd Grader, and Kindergartener.

My 5th Grader is growing into a young lady.  She loves volleyball, playing the piano, reading, and learning about bugs/insects.  She is a wonderful big sister and a great help to me.  I look forward to being her Classical Conversations Master Class Tutor, and serving in her Sunday School class at church.  I pray that we get to spend some quality time together as she transitions into the middle school years.

5thGrade2014

My 3rd Grader is hard working and full of energy.  She loves gymnastics, playing the violin, roller blading, and art.  She is as creative as she is active.  Her joyful relaxed spirit draws both her brother and sister close, making her an amazing big and little sister.  I look forward to seeing her grow in confidence this year without me as her Classical Conversations Journeymen Tutor (she had me for 2 years).  I pray that she knows where her strength comes from and continues to be brave in all her endeavors.

3rdGrade2014

My Kindergartener is eager and full of excitement.  He loves Legos, music/dancing, riding his scooter, art, and playing Go Fish.  He is looking forward to learning to read and playing soccer this year.  He is a sweet little brother, and enjoys spending time with his sisters.  I am continuously amazed at how fast he is growing, and pray that he takes on new challenges with enthusiasm and a teachable spirit.

Kinder2014

To an amazing school year! 

Joshua 1:9  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

 

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Blessings!

Summer Reading

SummerReading

Every summer the kids work on some extended learning workbooks such as these:

SummerBridgeActivitiesSummer Bridge Activities

MathPlusReadingSummer Link Math Plus Reading

We also let them pick out something fun from the bookstore as a reward for a successful school year, and a kick-off to summer!  This year the girls picked a journal to write their thoughts and doodle.

SummerReadingDiary

Here are some similar diaries and one for boys too!

DoodleDiaryDoodle Diary

AllAboutMeAll About Me Lock & Key Diary

DoodleSketchbookDoodle Sketchbook: Art Journaling for Boys

Visiting the local library is a regular weekly treat throughout the year, but over the summer months we add audio books to our checkout pile.  These are a few that our family has enjoyed over the years:

IslandoftheBlueDolphinsIsland of the Blue Dolphins

TheRunawayDollsThe Runaway Dolls

BecauseofWinnDixieBecause of Winn-Dixie

A short list for reading pleasure and read aloud:

TheBridgeThe Bridge

CrownandJewelCrown and Jewel

20000LeaguesUndertheSea20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

AVisitorforBearA Visitor for Bear

ABedtimeforBearA Bedtime for Bear

LittleCubLittle Cub

We would love to hear your recommendations!  Our summer has just begun!