Thursday, May 31, 2012

52.4.Him

God laid this on my heart awhile ago and He has not let it go. Anyone who knows us knows we are passionate about missions. It is our hearts desire to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the nations. . . to see men, woman, and children be made complete in Christ. It is our hearts desire to raise up our children, as I pray over them every night, to be mighty servants and warriors for His Kingdom. We have taken at least one family mission trip every year since Ron and I were married. Our children all went on their first mission trip around 6 months old. We believe in family missions. It is our desire to raise children that understand the Great Commission was not a Great Suggestion. How do we do this? I admit, up to this point not very well. True, we talk about missions, we pray for missionaries, we go on mission trips individually and as a family . . . often. Yet, I still feel as though we are failing. Where is the day in and day out of serving? Seeing others through God's eyes, seeing needs and meeting them. This is my heart. This is what I want my children to be passionate about. If you want your children to be passionate about something, you have to be passionate about it. It must be modeled, lived out on a daily basis before them. This is what 52.4.Him is all about.  52 weeks in a year for serving God and advancing His Kingdom. I don't want my children to be mighty servants and warriors for His kingdom one day. . . I want that now.

Starting in June, it is my desire to highlight one service project/outreach opportunity a week for 52 weeks. I want serving to be a lifestyle, seeing needs and meeting them, a natural part of life.  I have small kids, and I fully understand the limitations of young families, but I will no longer allow mediocrity and busyness to control our schedule. We only do that which we prioritize, and I have failed my family at this for too long. 

Part of reality is that each week will not and cannot be a huge production. We will seek out small opportunities, bringing food to the food pantry, clothes to the clothes closet, making cards for the nursing home, or shut-ins. But it won't stop there. At least once a month I want my family to engage in an outreach opportunity outside of our home, such as visiting a nursing home, ministering at a struggling church or backyard Bible club, visiting those who are unable to leave their homes, or playing with the kids at the children's home. We will seek out opportunities to serve. I have no doubt this will be difficult. I have no doubt it will be much more challenging than I can imagine. I have no doubt there will be weeks we fail miserably, weeks we are encouraged, weeks we are ready to quit. . . I also have no doubt we will be blessed and God will be glorified.

What about you? What are you doing to ensure your children are learning the art of service? I am completely open to ideas and suggestions . . . I am going to need them! And if you are local and ever want to join us, consider yourselves invited! This is new territory for us and I am excited to blaze this path and share it with others to help them journey together as a family on mission. 

2011-2012 in Review: Bible Study Guide for All Ages

The end of our second year of homeschooling has come to an end.  I thought I would close up the homeschool year with a series of posts about our highlights, hits and misses of the year.

Our first major hit was Bible Study Guide for all Ages. E and C beg to do this. I am simply amazed at how much they love it, and at how much they have learned. We used the beginner student pages for both (first grade and pre-k) to keep it simple this year, and it worked perfectly. The front of the student page has a section for review and memory work and a "get active" section (in the interest of full disclosure I usually skipped the "get active" section because I never looked at it ahead of time to gather supplies...often I just summarized it or told the story.) The review and memory work were the key to the program for us. The front of the page also has an application and picture to complete after the back is done.


The back is the Bible study part. It is interactive and really keeps the kids engaged. E and I would often take turns reading, and yes it thrills this mama's heart to hear her read things like Israelites, Jerusalem, and pharisees without a hitch! ;)



Along with the student pages, I absolutely love the memory work built in. This year besides our Scripture memory that I added in, just through BSGFAA we covered Old and New Testament books of the Bible, the 12 Tribes of Israel, the 12 Apostles, the writers of the New Testament, and the 15 Judges, all to music found on their Children's Songs CD. Can you imagine your 6 year old begging to listen to a CD of the Judges of Israel? We also memorized the Beginner timeline which is 34 questions and pictures of major people and events in the Bible. We also used the Bible summary cards that teach the 66 books of the Bible. On the front is a picture of themes found in the book to help you remember what it is about. The back has a basic summary of the content of the book along with questions covering main themes, author, etc. I absolutely love the foundation our kids are getting, and how much I am learning as well! Ron calls it seminary for littles. :)

Bible is the core of our homeschool and choosing a curriculum was not easy for me . . . I am ummmm a little picky! ;) I am so very thankful to have found something that really meets our needs. We usually spend about 30 minutes for Bible right after breakfast. We begin with the BSGFAA student pages, then memory verse work that I add in, and end with a song and prayer. The kids then spend a few minutes finishing coloring their picture while I take 5 minutes for clean up.

When choosing curriculum for next year, I loved that this was an easy decision. We will be using two different sets of pages next year as C will continue with the beginner pages, but E will move onto the intermediate ones. I am not sure how the details of that will work out, but I will keep you posted!

Even if you don't homeschool, this would be a great resource for family worship or a home Bible study with your kids. There are levels for all ages preschool to adult and the great thing is everyone studies the same thing at their level. I love that!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Finishing . . . creatively

Yeah, so a week or so ago I wrote about finishing strong. And now I am going to share with you how we are finishing . . . creatively! We leave for a family vacation this weekend and our goal was to finish up "first grade" before we left, knowing we would continue with math and reading over the summer. Well, how do you finish 5 history chapters, 6 weeks of science plus all the rest in 3 weeks? Creatively! As I looked through our history notebook for the year I was convinced we did "enough." OK, way more than enough, this is first grade and my poot child has an overachiever for a mother. So, we read the last few chapters a few a week, a little coloring, notebooking and some extra books later, call it good. Science. sigh. The weakness of our homeschool. In all fairness to my type A personality, it did get "done," just not quite the way I envisioned. There is just not enough time in the day to get all those great experiments I really wanted to do (read: perhaps if I got off the computer we could have completed a few more of those experiments) ;) So, how to fit 6 weeks into 2. Our last unit of science was a plant unit. Well, Ron did plant a garden with the kids this spring. huh, perhaps we can redeem this unit after all. A little internet searching, printing, and we made an awesome lapbook on plants and flowers, memorized the plant and flower poems, added pics of the garden and call it good (details to come in case anyone is interested in that).

We were supposed to finish the rest this week. We are down to math, spelling, and reading. My intentions were to carry these into the summer after a few weeks off. Well, the school room is under construction and I couldn't get to our books today. There are shelves and cabinets everywhere. Half our books are in the downstairs bathroom. I assured Ron I would kill him if the toilet overflowed. Where in the world did all this stuff come from? Having Ron help me clean out the school room 2 weeks before convention was probably NOT a good idea. He is now thoroughly convinced I need nothing. : /  Not likely.

The kids had no problem finding all the games that were displaced. I thankfully had the foresight to take out our math review and reading book for today. Other than that, I think we played Zingo, Dr. Seuss Matching, How Tall am I?, and Word on the Street Jr. (Hey! That TOTALLY counts as spelling for today!). And dare I admit I watched TV in the middle of the day? Where in the world did all those extra hours come from?!? Not doing school was . . . ummm nice? Eh, who needs spelling in this summer, just narrowed our summer plans to math and reading.

I am by personality and philosophy a classical homeschooler. Just the term "Relaxed homeschooler" stresses me out. Well, our homeschool got a nice needed dose of "relaxed" this week. Since I can't get to the books, we might as well call it done. (Well, after a math test tomorrow. I think I can find that. :) And did I mention the toddler was throwing up tonight? yeah, definitely done.

I still say we finished strong, just creatively. ;) So, I am calling it. Let the summer begin!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Finishing Strong

8 days of the school year left. 2 days until a work training and certification test. 9 days until we leave on our family Disney cruise. 14 days until Orlando vacation. 18 days until my niece's graduation party and my birthday. 21 days until C's VPK graduation. 22 days until homeschool convention. 25 days until niece's graduation. 26 days until my nephew's birthday. 34 days until VBS. 38 days until I can breathe. oh wait and then we have E's birthday and. . . yeah you get the point.

While this is a super busy time for us, it never is really calm. All wonderful things (well mostly!) ;) Yet, sooooo much. How do I keep things in perspective, not waste these days looking onto the next? I will never get these days or weeks back, and in the midst of the chaos, I want to finish strong . . . not just finish.

So as I look towards the end, I am always reminded of the beginning. When finishing a homeschooling year, homeschooling moms know we are not focused on the current year, we are all busy planning the next year! I have heard of moms even scratching their current plan to begin the new one early. Always looking ahead to better or newer. Looking to the beginning allows us to reevaluate our priorities and goals. We are reminded anew why we do what we do, and can get back on track if we have allowed ourselves to drift.

Last week at a leadership planning meeting as we filled the calendar with dates of Bible studies and activities, my first reaction is, I don't mind being busy but it has to be worth it. It has to have eternal value. The key to finishing strong is to only finish that which is worth it. Take a look at the calendar, get rid of that which isn't worth it. Focus on that which advances the Kingdom of God. Our goal is to pursue the glory of God in all things in our lives. In homeschool we glorify God by pursuing excellence in all. We do not sacrifice character for academics. We do not sacrifice academics for character. Excellence may not always look the same for every every family or even for a family at any given time. It is about giving our best. Even in finishing.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Supplementing Sonlight Core C

We are planning to use Sonlight Core C/  the second part of World History next year. Anyone who knows me knows that I cannot do anything as is, and thought I would share some of the supplements: crafts, coloring pages, websites, and notebooking pages I have found. I am not finished, but will update as I go, just wanted to go ahead and make it available for those who are planning like me!


Supplementing Sonlight Core C 
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